PBC Officials: County Positivity Rate Trending Down

During a Friday, Aug. 14 briefing at the Emergency Operations Center, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner gave an update on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Joining him was Commissioner Mack Bernard.

To date, Palm Beach County has reported 38,575 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 976 fatalities; 367 new cases have been reported since Thursday. Since the pandemic began, a total of 291,132 persons have been tested in the county.

The cumulative positivity rate in Palm Beach County stands at 13.3 percent. However, the daily lab positivity rate, a key indicator of the actual amount of COVID-19 present in the community, continues to trend downward. As of Thursday, it was 6.5 percent

The total of 291,132 COVID-19 tests have been administered at the 115 government, commercial and nonprofit-operated testing sites in Palm Beach County.

Antigen rapid testing is coming soon to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches testing site. The tests will be administered to individuals who are age 65 and older, under the age of 18, or symptomatic at any age. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular tests, meaning a positive antigen test is highly accurate, but a negative result does not necessarily rule out infection.

Molecular tests, also known as PCR tests, detect genetic material from the virus. This test is currently available at all Palm Beach County government testing locations.

The COVID-19 antibody test, also known as a serology test, is a blood test that can detect if a person has antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody testing can help identify people who may have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or have recovered from the disease. This test is currently available at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and the South County Civic Center testing sites, and there are no age restrictions.

The COVID-19 Education & Compliance Team (CECT) is moving into the enforcement phase, Kerner said. To date, a total of 5,085 complaints have been received by phone, e-mail, online, or were code staff initiated.

Total CECT site inspections: 1,447
Written warnings issued: 67
Civil citations issued: 0
Notices of violation Issued: 19
Reinspections: 41
Referrals: 88
Business closures: 27

The Board of County Commissioners, with the approval of the governor’s office, will authorize moving to a Phase 2 re-opening when the metrics warrant such a request. Updates on indicators are being provided regularly to the public. The next update will be at the regularly scheduled BCC meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25. It can be viewed live on Channel 20 or from the county’s web site at www.pbcgov.com. The BCC has not established specific targets that would trigger the Phase 2 request.

Bernard reported the national compliance rate for the 2020 U.S. Census stands at 63.6 percent. Palm Beach County’s compliance rate is below at 61.1 percent. The statewide rate is even lower at 60.4 percent. He urged everyone who has not yet completed their census form to do so.

“We need to make sure every person in Palm Beach County is counted for the 2020 Census,” Bernard said. “We will lose billions of dollars in Palm Beach County if you’re not counted.”

Census forms can be completed by mail, by phone, online or in person with a census enumerator who comes to your home.