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June 16 update: 13 new positive tests, no new hospitalizations in the past 4 days

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

According to the state dashboard, Alachua County has a cumulative total of 564 people with COVID-19-positive test results, an increase of 13 from yesterday on 638 test results, for a positive test rate of 2.0%. We reported last Thursday on an outbreak in a local agricultural community with 76 positive tests and 14 more that were waiting for results. So 90 of the 152 positive tests over the past 6 days have been from that group. These cases are the result of a COVID-positive person who traveled up from south Florida, they are not indicative of community spread, and the infected persons are isolated.

Paul Myers from the Department of Health said the important thing is that the new cases have not led to an increase in hospitalizations. The new cases include household members of previous positive cases and students who were sick in May. Myers said that those who were sick in May have recovered and are not contagious, but the tests can still detect inactive virus. Because the dead/inactive virus can be present for so long, the new standard in health care situations is that people who test positive for COVID-19 can return to work 14 days after their last symptom; the previous standard of 2 negative tests was unnecessarily keeping people out of work because it was picking up inactive virus for a long time after recovery.

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A total of ten deaths have been reported in the county. Nine of the deaths were reportedly from one long-term care facility, Parklands Care Center. The 10 deaths were first reported as positive cases on April 9 (4), April 18 (2), April 20, April 21, April 23, and May 12.

84 people (total) have been hospitalized, no increase for the past 4 days. The Alachua County Health Department typically reports a higher number that includes non-residents, which are not shown on the dashboard.

The website with current numbers of long-term care cases in Alachua County has not yet been updated today but shows 71 cases. 58 of the cases are from Parklands Care Center. The chart says, “The data is not cumulative but reflects the information available for current residents and staff with cases as of yesterday’s date.” (The top line shows totals for the state.)

The county report shows a cumulative total of 71 cases in long-term care (same as the last report) and 2 cases in a correctional facility (I’ve been told that both of these are related to correctional facilities in other counties).

Available bed capacity in Alachua County is 16.05%. You may have seen stories about hospital capacity around the state, tying the increased number of patients to COVID. The truth is that the increased number of patients (particularly in ICU) is from elective procedures that were delayed during the pandemic.

The state has 80,109 cases (an increase of 2,783 from yesterday on 30,133 new test results for a positive rate of 9.2%) and 2,993 deaths (an increase of 55 from yesterday, 32 of which were from long-term care facilities). It’s normal for death numbers to be low on Sundays and Mondays and then spike up on Tuesdays.

The state also publishes a chart of the percentage of new tests that are positive by day (this chart is for the whole state), and yesterday’s positive rate was 7.46%. Reportedly, testing in migrant farmworker communities with high positivity rates (because the workers live in close quarters) are driving up the percentage of positive tests. (The state charts only count people who test positive for the first time, and they may assign results to a different date than the day the test result came back. Our calculations are just positives/total tests for new results.)

Dade County has 29% of the state’s cases. Broward has 12%; Palm Beach 12%; Hillsborough has 5%; Orange has 4%, and Lee has 4%. Alachua County represents about 1.2% of the state’s population and 0.7% of the state’s cases.

31,512 test results have come back so far in Alachua County (up 638 from yesterday), and 30,941 tests have come back negative. Only 1.8% of the local tests have come back positive so far, and 13 tests came back positive since yesterday’s report, for a positive test rate of 2.04%.

If you remove the 90 positive tests from the isolated farmworker community, the percentage of positive tests over the past 6 days is 1.4%.

Here is the official graph for Alachua County:

Also, here is the graph for the percentage of emergency department visits for cough, fever, and shortness of breath (normal baseline is around 2%):

According to the daily report, there are 454 cases in Gainesville, 23 in Alachua, 21 in Newberry, 12 in High Springs, 9 in Hawthorne, 5 in Waldo, 4 in Tioga, 4 in Micanopy, 4 in Archer, 1 in LaCrosse, and 1 in Santa Fe. 4 cases are listed in the city of “Missing” in Alachua County. Location data is not available for all cases.

The 7-day moving average of new cases is at 22.3 through yesterday’s cases (the agricultural outbreak will skew the numbers for a while). Here is the 7-day average of new cases for the past 14 days.

Cases by zip code

I’m not going to type out the cases by zip code any more. If you’re interested, you can find them on the “Cases by Zip Code” tab of the dashboard.

Testing information

Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing
The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua) is offering evening drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Wednesdays, from 4-7 p.m. This is in addition to their regular testing schedule. DOH-Alachua is offering COVID-19 testing to Alachua County residents, regardless of symptoms. Residents who want a COVID-19 test are asked to call 352-334-8810 for an appointment. A referral from a doctor is not required. If your insurance covers this, it will be billed (no copay is required). If not, it is free.

COVID-19 Testing Results Phone Line
The Department of Health in Alachua County has set up a dedicated line for residents to call for COVID-19 test results. The phone number is 352-334-8828, and it is staffed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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