During an afternoon news conference on Friday, July 24 at the Emergency Operations Center, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner provided an update on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Joining him were Commissioner Mack Bernard, Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County Director Dr. Alina Alonso, County Administrator Verdenia Baker and Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson.
To date, Palm Beach County has reported 29,004 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a total of 744 deaths. The county’s daily lab positivity rate is about 12 percent. “We want to get it back to where it was when we reopened, and that’s 5 percent,” said Alonso, reiterating the importance of wearing masks and practicing social distancing. “This is really the only tool we have to bring down the number of cases.”
Local hospitals are operating at about 73 percent of total bed utilization, she said, and there are plenty of ventilators available. COVID-positive ICU cases have decreased slightly over the past few days.
Kerner reviewed two emergency orders issued on July 23:
Emergency Order 16 extends the Facial Covering Directive until 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 23.
Emergency Order 15 revises restrictions on operating hours of restaurants, food establishments and other businesses, and provides clarification of current business closures.
“The bottom line is this. In Palm Beach County, if it’s after 11 p.m., there cannot be customers in the establishment,” Kerner said.
To report a business that may not be following the rules, contact the COVID Education & Compliance Team at (561) 24-COVID or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Combat COVID app is now available in the Google Play store and will soon be available in the Apple store. Approximately 400,000 of the Combat COVID masks purchased by the county have been mailed out to area residents.
Johnson reminded everyone that the most active months of the hurricane season are coming up and to prepare now. Make a plan, build a kit, get involved and be involved. Emergency shelters in Palm Beach County will be set up to accommodate social distancing, Johnson said. However, going to a shelter should be considered a last resort.
Bernard urged anyone who has not yet completed and submitted their 2020 Census form to do so as soon as possible.
Watch video from the news conference below: