THE LATEST: As of 10 a.m. Monday, May 4, Volusia County had 513 positive confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 26 deaths and 85 hospitalizations. A total of 10,554 COVID-19 tests have been done in Volusia County. Some 96 Volusia County cases are said to be travel-related, while 349 people had contact with an infected person.
Is it better reporting, out-of-control spread, or an increase in testing?
Volusia County, according to the latest statistics available, recorded a surge of more than 1,000 percent in coronavirus cases in the final days of April.
The Florida Department of Health noted four new cases of the deadly COVID-19 in the county on April 29, but logged 48 new cases on April 30.
“There have been multiple facility outbreaks in the county,” Volusia County Health Department Administrator Patricia Boswell said.
What “facilities” Boswell was referring to during the county’s May 1 online update was not clear, and a response to The Beacon’s inquiry to the Health Department did not explain the discrepancy.
There are 140 long-term-care facilities in Volusia County. As of April 30, according to data reported on the Florida Department of Health website, there was one case of COVID-19 in a Port Orange nursing home. The state website also reported that two residents had been transferred out of Deltona Health Care because of COVID-19 as of April 30, and that seven staff members in long-term care facilities — all in East Volusia — had tested positive for the virus.
The Health Department’s most recent total of positive COVID-19 cases in Volusia County is 513. 26 people in the county have died.
Despite the April 29-30 spike, the first of May finds Volusia County seeking to bring its government, its businesses and its way of life closer to pre-pandemic conditions; the incremental return is under way.
The beaches are open for enjoyment, but with strict warnings about maintaining social distancing and avoiding groups of six or more people.
Except for the handicapped-access beach ramps, beach ramps remain closed, and parking is limited. Oceanside playgrounds, restrooms, splash pads and showers are also still closed.
Starting Monday, May 4, Family Health Source will begin offering blood tests for COVID-19 antibodies at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, 3150 E. New York Ave., DeLand. The testing will take place in the Hester Building 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Appointments are not required.
Family Health Source is also still offering the nasal-swab test for coronavirus at its office at 1205 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand.
In the three weeks between April 13 and May 1, Family Health Source CEO Laurie Asbury said the agency conducted an estimated 3,000 nasal-swab tests at testing sites in Deltona, DeLand and Daytona Beach.
Courthouse to reopen
Civil and criminal-justice processes have not altogether stopped because of the pandemic. In the county’s May 1 briefing on the status of the disease and its effects, Florida Seventh Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Raul Zambrano and other judicial leaders joined to speak about their role in reopening courthouses and related agencies.
Zambrano said the Florida Supreme Court had issued an order suspending all jury trials, and that order is still in effect.
Yet, he noted, judges are still handling emergencies and time-sensitive matters such as requests for injunctions.
The Volusia County Courthouse at 101 N. Alabama Ave. in DeLand will reopen at 9 a.m. Monday, May 4, but visitors will be subject to screening and temperature checks.
Court Clark Laura Roth said many of the documents people need may be found online at www.clerk.org. She also invited people needing additional help to call her office at 386-736-5915.
Roth said her office has continued to issue marriage licenses, process deeds and receive filings for injunctions during the emergency. She said summonses for jury duty may be issued “in May or June.”
“Let us know what you need. We’re here to help,” she said.
Representatives of both the State Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices say their agencies have been at work throughout the lockdown.
“The bottom line is, crime is being prosecuted,” First Assistant State Attorney John Reid said. “We will make sure the safety of our community and our employees comes first.”
Public Defender Jim Purdy said his office is continuing to advocate for anyone “not represented by private counsel.”