JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville is now a high transmission area for COVID-19, the Duval County health department said during a city council committee meeting Monday.
The number of COVID-19 cases have nearly quadrupled — there were 8,331 new cases last week in Duval County.
Elsewhere in Northeast Florida, St. Johns County had 1,788 new cases last week, Clay County had 1,205, and Nassau County had 387.
The number of hospitalizations has increased over the last week, as well.
As of Monday, there were 108 COVID-19 patients at Baptist Health’s five hospitals — including seven adults in the intensive care unit. The 108 patients also included eight children at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, none of whom were in the ICU.
At UF Health Jacksonville, there were 70 COVID-19 patients, 14 of whom were in the ICU, as of Monday.
Meanwhile, city and state testing sites have been slammed. That trend continued Monday, with many people who needed to get tested to return to work, school or travel. At the Emmett Reed Community Center, News4JAX spoke with singer and entertainer Mama Blue.
“I just want to make sure I am healthy and safe to go back to work and be around people. The world is starting to turn again in a little bit. I want to help protect my neighbors and my friends,” she said.
While most people were not happy about the more-than-an-hour-long wait outside some testing sites, she had a different perspective.
“I am surprised that there are so few [people getting tested]. I am surprised considering we go back to school and work tomorrow,” she said.
The mayor’s office will ask the city council for more funding for the Telescope Health testing site in Neptune Beach — which has been overwhelmed and often reaches capacity early in the day.
News4JAX is also working to find out more information about a testing site at Regency. It is not run by the city but it is offering free testing. The lines there were long on Monday.
Jacksonville still lags behind the state in people getting vaccinated. Sixty-two percent have had at least one shot. For children ages 5 to 11, that number is only 3.1%. For those ages 12 to 18, it’s 11.2%.
During the meeting Monday morning, city council members also learned that as of Dec. 25, 3,347 people have died of COVID-19 in Duval County since the pandemic began — 10 in just a week.