On Thursday, April 15, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner gave an update at the Emergency Operations Center on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Joining him were Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County; Darcy Davis, CEO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County; commissioners Mack Bernard, Maria Marino, Maria Sachs and Gregg Weiss; and County Administrator Verdenia Baker. April 15 marked the 30th day of the second year of activation at the EOC.
Moment of Silence for PBSO Deputies Lost to COVID-19 — The group observed a moment of silence for seven fallen deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The most recent employee passed away last week, five of the employees were 49 or younger, and one was in their 30s.
Health Department Update — Alonso confirmed the positivity rate beginning on April 1 was at 5.05 percent and has peaked at 7.13 percent this week. The period of rapid improvement ended in February, and although cases are going up, hospitalizations and deaths are down. Palm Beach County has a total of 2,704 deaths and is averaging 450 new cases daily, with 55 percent of new cases are coming from residents ranging in age from 15 to 55 and only 3 percent of that population has been fully vaccinated in Palm Beach County.
Vaccinations — Palm Beach County has been a statewide leader in distributing vaccinations. Through April 15, a total of 348,293 Palm Beach County residents have received at least one vaccination; about 80 percent of them are age 65 or older. A total of 232,171 county residents have been fully vaccinated. Any resident age 16 or older may now register to be vaccinated, and there are many options to do so. All Publix locations, one Winn-Dixie in Lake Worth, 12 CVS pharmacies, 57 Walgreens pharmacies and 21 WalMart and Sam’s Club locations. Residents can also contact the Healthcare District to schedule appointments by visiting http://vaccine.hcdpbc.org/ web site or calling (561) 804-4115. There is a state-supported site at Anquan Boldin Stadium in Pahokee, and the state continues to have pop up sites all over the county as supplies become available.
Homebound Vaccinations — The Florida Division of Emergency Management is providing vaccine appointments for homebound seniors. The state encourages homebound individuals to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at their home by filling out the survey available here, e-mailing HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com or by calling (866) 779-6121. Someone from the Florida Division of Emergency Management will contact you within 72 hours to collect more information and schedule your appointment.
Healthcare District — Darcy Davis shared the milestone of 150,000 vaccination as of April 14 and a record 4,000 in one day. The district continues to receive positive feedback on the process and is scheduling appointments as vaccines become available.
Masks — The mandatory facial covering order in Palm Beach County is being extended through mid-May. “I understand we are fatigued with COVID, and the data indicates that this is not a good time to relax our safeguards,” Kerner said.
Baker thanked the public for helping the county get to where it is. “We want to get to a point where the science tells us we can stop wearing masks,” she said. “Please bear with us and continue to wear the masks for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
As vaccine supplies increase, vaccination efforts and strategies will be expanded to utilize 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.
Residents are urged to continue following the 3 Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, and avoid the 3 Cs – closed spaces, crowded places and confined spaces.