On Thursday, Feb. 18, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner gave an update at the Emergency Operations Center on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Joining him were Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth, Commissioner Maria Marino, Commissioner Gregg Weiss, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and Commissioner Maria Sachs, Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, Health Care District CEO Darcy Davis, State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Emergency Management Director Mary Blakeney.
Thursday marked Day 339 of Level 2 activation at the EOC. The COVID-19 daily positivity rate in Palm Beach County stands at 6.22 percent and 6.4 percent statewide. As the vaccine supply increases over the next several months, vaccination opportunities will be expanded to include fixed regionally located vaccination centers in the south, central, north and west portions of the county, points of distribution, clinic operations and mobile pop-up community sites. Since last March, more than 109,000 individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Palm Beach County and more than twice that number have now been inoculated.
Masks — The facial coverings mandate in Palm Beach County has been extended an additional 30 days to mid-March. While compliance has been generally good at area businesses and establishments, with spring vacation on the horizon and new variants of COVID-19 surfacing, it is important to continue to observe safety precautions and social distancing.
Vaccinations — Through Wednesday, Feb. 17, nearly 233,000 Palm Beach County residents have received vaccinations; 81 percent (188,890) of them are age 65 or older. About 54 percent of seniors (age 65+) in the county have received one or both shots. Palm Beach County is No. 2 in the state in overall vaccine distribution and is the top county in the number of first doses of vaccine administered.
North County — Officials announced a third large-scale vaccination site will open next Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the Burns Road Community Center in Palm Beach Gardens, contingent upon vaccine availability. The site will be operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and will concentrate on individuals who are on the Florida Department of Health waiting list. Those eligible to be vaccinated will be contacted. Vaccines will be given by appointment only. Do not come to any vaccination site without an appointment.
Fairgrounds — The 22,000-square-foot, air-conditioned tent at the South Florida Fairgrounds has been operating for about a week with very few problems. The fairgrounds operation is capable of inoculating up to 7,000 residents per day. It has 24 vaccination stations and self-service kiosks.
Deliveries — The Health Care District, working with PBCFR, has administered approximately 50,000 vaccines countywide. Davis said winter storms this past week have slowed vaccine deliveries to the state. However, seniors 65 and older who have prescheduled appointments for their first and second doses are confirmed through next Tuesday with available vaccine on hand. More vaccine deliveries are anticipated next Monday or Tuesday.
Scammers — State Attorney Aronberg warned residents not to fall victim to vaccine scammers. The vaccine is free and you cannot “buy” your way onto a waiting list or be moved up on the list. If you are contacted by phone or e-mail with such an offer, do not provide payment or give any personal information. Instead, report the incident to law enforcement.