Some Optimism From Palm Beach County Leaders Discussing COVID-19 Response

Some optimism from Palm Beach County leaders Tuesday.

"The number of new cases has actually started to slowly come down."

Dr. Alina Alonso, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County called it "very encouraging."

"If we can keep that up, we can keep this curve flat, so that we do not overwhelm our hospitals, our law enforcement, our firefighters and everybody else that is so involved in this heroic effort."

She said the social distancing must continue for now.

"Then we can be at either a flat curve or a curve starting to go down in the next, I would say maybe next 30 days or so that we could actually see some hope at the end of the tunnel...at least a glimmer of a light, perhaps."

Dr. Alonso made the comments at the new testing site at the South County Civic Center near Delray Beach, which aims to serve residents over the age of 60.

Persons wishing to be tested must be preapproved and have an appointment before coming to the drive-thru center.

Cleveland Clinic is conducting phone screenings to set appointments. The number is 561-804-0250. The phone interview will cover the presence of symptoms, possible exposures and risk factors. Callers who are approved to be tested will be given an appointment date and time slot.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County continues to lead the state in the number of COVID-19 related deaths, which Dr. Alonso says makes sense.

"We have 23.9 percent of our population is over the age of 65. The average age dying is 78 years old. We have a much older population than Miami (Dade) and Broward."

Those two counties have the second and third most deaths, with Broward at 2 and Miami-Dade at 3.

Dr. Alonso also says that Palm Beach's 18 percent rate of positive test results compared to the 10 percent statewide average makes sense, being that only people ages 65 and up were tested before a week and a half ago.

Photo: Getty Images

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