Emergency Management Director Cecilia Patella updated the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at the regular meeting on July 14, 2020. During her last update on June 23, Commissioner John Allocco asked Patella how many patients testing positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic. Patella reported during this meeting that the number is 30%.
At the time of her report, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported 943 confirmed positive cases in Hernando County. Of those, 474 have been cleared or recovered, which is roughly 50%. The increase in positive cases is 736 new cases since the June 23, 2020 meeting.
Patella reported that the DOH is currently contact-tracing 114 individuals. The positivity rate for individuals over 18 is 6.8%. However, this number jumps sharply in those under 18, with 20% testing positive. The median age for those testing positive is 41.
65 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 at the time of this writing, and 7 are on ventilators.
Patella told the board that lags in reported test results have occurred, so it is possible to see very few results followed by a surge.
Commissioner Steve Champion asked Patella if the number of positive tests being reported was the number of individuals or the number of tests. According to Champion, he had been given information by a hospital worker that a patient was tested 9 times. Patella did not have that information during this meeting.
Chairman John Mitten had information that results of sicker patients were coming back sooner than those healthier, “Because capacity is a challenge they’re expediting the potentially high-risk ones to get in faster if you have a young person who’s ostensibly very healthy, their’s is probably going to come back a little after someone who’s in a very high-risk situation, so there are lags for some and then other ones are expedited.”
Champion questioned the validity of the number of positive tests, reporting that a restaurant owner that he knows personally closed their business after one employee tested positive for the coronavirus. After the restaurant owner had his staff tested at a rapid-result private lab in Dade City, all employees, including the one who had previously tested positive — tested negative.
Patella answered that all labs providing testing are required to report their results to the DOH.
(The Hernando Sun keeps a running record of COVID-19 cases and deaths at hernandosun.com. This information is usually updated at 11 AM daily.)