A prison worker, police officer and 1-year-old are among the latest confirmed covid-19 cases to reach Columbia County, while the numbers for Suwannee County exploded on Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, Columbia County was at 15 cases, two of which resulted in hospitalizations, according to the Florida Department of Health website. Around the same time, Suwannee County had shot up from 18 cases Monday morning to 32 in the afternoon, four of which required hospitalization.
The prison guard is an employee or contractor at Columbia Correctional Institution, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. It’s not clear whether he or she lives in Columbia County and is one of the 15 cases here, or lives elsewhere and is accounted for in the statistics for a different county.
The 1-year-old, a boy, was one of five new cases announced through Monday, bringing the county total to 15 cases.
On Friday, a Lake City Police Department officer was confirmed to have covid-19.
The officer was reportedly being isolated at home but was in otherwise good condition.
The officer hadn’t been showing any symptoms but took a test as a precaution, a common move among first responders.
A review of the officer’s contacts over the past two weeks showed that the officer has not transported any prisoners or had any prolonged direct contact with any members of the public.
Within the Police Department, Social Distancing protocols have been in place for weeks, which has helped limit contact between officers while working. Patrol shift briefings were moved outdoors with officers standing at least 6 feet apart. Officers have been provided with personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, to wear when they come in close contact with members of the public. Medical grade sprays are used to deep clean and sanitize the back seat of all patrol cars after any arrests.
The CDC has updated recommendations for face coverings. The federal agency now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Twenty-nine of the Suwannee County are connected, being either residents or staff at the same long-term care facility, according to health officials.
Thirteen of the new Suwannee County cases announced Monday involve 10 women ages 20 to 84 and three men ages 67 to 74. Details on the 14th were not available as of press time.
According to a document released by the Florida Department of Health on Sunday, 227 people had tested negative for the novel coronavirus, which causes covid-19.
As of Monday afternoon, Florida was at 13,324 confirmed cases statewide, with 1,592 hospitalizations and 236 deaths.
Nationwide, the United States had 351,890 confirmed cases and 10,377 deaths around the same time.