JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County saw another record increase in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and bars and restaurants at the beaches continued to shut their doors over reports of positive coronavirus cases among staff or customers.
News4Jax took a look at the data for ZIP codes across the Jacksonville area and found 32250 -- the ZIP code that covers Jacksonville Beach -- showed coronavirus cases went from 50 to 77 in just eight days. That means one-third of all cases reported in that area since the pandemic began were identified in just over a week.
On Jacksonville’s Southside, several ZIP codes have seen noteworthy increases in cases in the last eight days:
- 32256: 25% increase (92 cases on June 10 to 115 cases on June 17)
- 32246: 26% increase (92 cases on June 10 to 116 cases on June 17)
- 32216: 22% increase (121 cases on June 10 to 148 cases on June 17)
Cases in the Northside ZIP code of 32218 have gone up 9%, from 128 cases on June 10 to 140 cases on June 17.
These are not necessarily the ZIP codes with the most cases in the Jacksonville area, but these are where the increases have been most dramatic recently.
Cause for concern?
As case totals continue to rise in record numbers -- 162 cases in the last two days in Duval County -- there is a new concern in Jacksonville about more people potentially being exposed to the virus after the city reopened. Jacksonville now has 2,194 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
But Marko Predic, who works in infectious disease prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, said the increased volume of testing could be contributing to the numbers going up across the area.
“Now with increased testing, we are able to test a lot more people. What’s going to happen is you’re going to catch a lot of people who are those asymptomatic carriers who aren’t as sick that didn’t come into the hospital,” Predic said. “But the percentage of positives is what you’re looking at where you may have had 1,000 tests which the percent positive is still very low, which is a good sign -- meaning it really isn’t spiking as much.”
And despite the rise in cases, the health care system is still in good shape, he said.
“I still believe we are fairly capable of handling what is going on. I don’t think this is anything like the second wave. We are still in that first period,” Predic said.
He explained that the patients coming into area hospitals aren’t showing the same severe symptoms hospital staff were seeing three months ago at the start of the pandemic.
“We are getting a mixed bag. We’re probably seeing more of those patients who are not requiring a higher level of care,” Predic said. “We’re getting symptomatic patients with sore throats, high fevers, a lot of shortness of breath, but not as (many) in critical condition. And that goes for all ages.”
Long lines return to Lot J
One notable shift Wednesday was that the lines at the Lot J coronavirus testing site in Jacksonville were longer than they have been in weeks.
More people were also seen getting tested for COVID-19 at the Legends Center on the Northside.
If you want to get tested, but are looking to avoid long lines, we have listed a number of available testing sites below. The city also provides details about all available testing sites online.