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“We are not headed in the direction we want to in the community,” Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Holly Smith said at a press conference today.

Data shows that Volusia County has experienced an increase in new cases and in the overall two-week positivity rate since mid-October.

This week, the average number of new cases a day has exceeded 100, Smith said. There were 118 new cases recorded on Nov. 19 in Volusia County, as compared to the day before.

Currently, the cumulative total of cases in the county is 14,681, with 351 deaths.

The “death percentage” has held at 2 to 3 percent throughout the pandemic, Smith said.

“So if we get 100 new cases today, and 2 percent to 3 percent of those could die, you would anticipate seeing two to three deaths,” she said.

Smith noted that while the numbers haven’t reached the level of the summer COVID-19 surge (which had new cases averaging around 200 a day, and sometimes as high as 500), the current trend shows a steady increase.

This graph shows the spike of COVID-19 cases in July in Volusia County, a decrease and leveling off, and finally, a steady increase beginning in mid-October. 

“We know COVID fatigue is a real thing, but we also know we can’t give in to it,” Community Information Director Kevin Captain said.

The Florida Department of Health and a representative from AdventHealth both said they were prepared for the eventual distribution of a vaccine.

“We have been selected as one of the first five entities within the state of Florida that will begin distributing the vaccine,” AdventHealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joe Smith said.

Officials anticipate that the vaccine will first be distributed to hospitals and long-term care facilities, then to targeted groups who have been identified as at-risk or high-risk.

“Any provider who provides any vaccinations now — they can sign up to be a COVID vaccine provider,” Holly Smith said.

“My most optimistic expectation or prediction is within two to three weeks, AdventHealth will begin to be able to bear these vaccines to those who receive the designation of being the most high-risk, or the most in need,” Dr. Joe Smith said.

Even so, as the holiday season approaches, officials warned residents to be vigilant about preventive measures.

“Don’t let your guard down,” Captain concluded.


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