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Four area residents have died due to complications of coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health announced today. One of the three in Putnam County was a nine-year-old girl. Two women who were hospitalized – one 58 and the other 70 – also died from the virus, according to health officials. That brings the coronavirus death total in Putnam to 11. An additional 44 cases were announced today with 15 in Crescent City and 17 in Palatka. Total number of Putnam cases since the counting began is at 1,050. In St. Johns County a 56-year-old man died due to coronavirius complications. That brings the death count there to 17. Today’s count includes 58 new cases for a total of 2,670. In Flagler County 13 new cases were reported for a total of 696.
Schools in Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties aren’t expected to open on the Aug. 10 date pushed by the state. St. Johns County School Board Tuesday voted to delay opening until August 31. On Monday Putnam County indicated they won’t open until Aug. 24. An official board vote still remains to be cast. Flagler County School Board on Tuesday indicated they’ll support a request by new Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt to make Aug. 24 the opening date. That came during a board workshop Tuesday when Mittelstadt said parent surveys show almost 40 percent want remote instruction rather than a return to brick-and-mortar schools. Districts are grappling with how to provide the instruction, principals must determine staffing needs and everyone is working on how to cope with concerns over preventing coronavirus spread.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says all 41 inmates diagnosed with coronavirus have been cleared and will no longer have to be monitored by the state Department of Health in Putnam County. Majority of positive inmates had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic and none required hospitalization during the two-week period, according to officials. Temperatures are being monitored daily as part of continuing precautions.
Florida High School Athletic Association meets Friday to hear from its medical committee. The Association earlier this week gave approval for practices to start July 27. Now it’s up to districts and coaches to decide when they’ll start practices. In Flagler County parents Monday were informed by the Matanzas High School principal that one student athlete had tested positive for coronavirus.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is looking to the public for help in finding a woman who was last seen in 2005 in Jacksonville Beach. Kimberly Ann Harley was officially reported missing in 2011 by family members. She may have been working on a casino boat in the Northeast Florida area. Jacksonville Beach police officers lost had contact with her when they found her sleeping in the car of an acquaintance in a parking lot near Marsh Landing Parkway. Her last known residential address was at the Remington Apartment Complex on West End Lane in Ponte Vedra. If you have information, contact Det. J. Manning at jamanning@sjcso or call 904-824-8304.
St. Johns County Commissioners have voted to require face masks inside county-controlled buildings. The vote was 3-1 with Commissioner Jeb Smith casting the dissenting vote. Commissioners have not required a countywide mandatory indoor mask policy. St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach have for their municipalities. Concerns over how to enforce the ban remain.
Palatka City Commission will be busy Thursday with three meetings all electronic. The first is a special called Community Redevelopment Agency Budget Workshop at 2 p.m. That’s followed by a budget workshop for the city at 3 p.m. A Palatka City Commission meeting is at 6 p.m.
Free coronavirus testing is available Friday in Interlachen in Putnam County. Throat swab coronavirus tests are from 3-6 p.m. at Interlachen Community Center, 135 S. County Road 315. There is no cost. Don’t eat or drink anything 30 minutes prior to your test.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.