At one point, it appeared that Pasco County might be on the verge of dropping its mask mandate — but that looks unlikely for at least the foreseeable future.
“When I stood before you in September, we were looking at 29 cases a day. We’re up to 207 cases,” Mike Napier, the health officer for the Florida Department of Health — Pasco County told Pasco County commissioners at their Dec. 8 meeting.
“Back in September, when we were looking at 29 cases per day, that was considered a very low case rate. However, we’ve gone in the wrong direction.
“We’re now in the environment where we have what is considered a high case rate, and no end in sight at the moment,” Napier continued.
“Pasco County has the highest positivity rate in the region.
“At 200 cases a day, we could double our total cases from 16,000 to 32,000 in the next three months, if we don’t do anything else. That’s startling. That means 400 cases a day, instead of 200 cases a day.
“We’re not seeing any indicators that these rates will slow until the vaccine is widely available in the spring.
“The recommendation at this point is to continue the emphasis of the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene and face covering,” the public health officer said.
Napier shared some statistics and trends with the board.
“As of this morning, we’ve had 16,544 positive cases. Something that’s a little bit startling is that 9.5% of those total cases — 1,578 — happened in the last seven days. So, we are seeing a spike in numbers,” the public health officer said.
“Our 14-day rolling average is up from 5% to almost 10%, so we’ve seen a similar doubling in numbers in positivity rate, as well,” Napier continued.
The county also had 305 deaths related to COVID so far, with a slight increase in the number of deaths occurring during the previous three-week period, Napier said.
“Many of us were concerned back in late June, early July about our cases and our percent positive. We’re surpassing that now.
“Our positivity rate is not equal to what we had during the spike, but has been consistently above 10%.
“Most people are being tested, therefore we’re getting more numbers,” he said. “The concern that I have, honestly, is that we’re getting to the maximum of our ability to test people, currently, to diagnose people with COVID.”
He also told board members the increasing number of cases do not appear to be tied to students being back in school.
“We are seeing very limited transmission within the school system,” the Pasco health officer added. “It’s really when the kids go home to their parents, and activities after school.”
Napier said he understands COVID fatigue: “People are just over it at this point.” But he added that vigilance to health protocols remains necessary to reduce potential spread.
Hillsborough County’s state of local emergency enacted in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been extended until at least Dec. 17. The county also has extended its mask mandate to at least that date.
The Hillsborough County Commission is expected to discuss its local emergency declaration on Dec. 16.
Hillsborough survey on vaccines
Hillsborough County is conducting an opinion survey to find out how residents feel about the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccines and to understand what obstacles the community might have to taking a vaccine.
The anonymous survey, offered in English and Spanish, is designed to help County leadership understand respondents’ attitudes and trepidations about the COVID-19 vaccines, according to a Hillsborough County news release.
The survey is intended to help county leaders better plan and execute distribution logistics and campaigns to maximize the number of residents who choose to get vaccinated.
Visit HCFLGov.net/COVIDVaccine to participate in the survey. To participate by text, text “vaccine” to 73224 or “Vacuna” to 73224 to participate in Spanish.
COVID-19 Cases (As of 8 a.m., Dec. 14)
United States: 15,932,116 cases; 296,818 deaths
Florida: 1,125,931 cases, 19,866 deaths
Pasco County: 17,628 cases; 318 deaths
Hillsborough County: 64,967 cases; 986 deaths
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Florida Department of Health
Published December 16, 2020
If masks work, why are cases spiking with mandates in place around the country? Two reasons. Masks obviously don’t work and never have been proven to work or else “cases” wouldn’t be spiking again. Second, even if widespread cloth masking in the community did work – almost all transmission is in homes (where masks are obviously not worn) or in healthcare settings (where they are), again showing the ineffectiveness of cloth masks without any filtration system. It seems politicians seem to want to show they are doing something, even if it is doing nothing but dividing people.
I live in pasco county and I can say masks I believe do work I am in a profession were I am constantly around people and been around people that have been positive for covid I have not gotten sick I wear my mask at all times in public and sanitize the issue is that you have people that don’t care enough to at least try to wear the mask or social distance. From what I have seen in multiple places in Pasco County especially zephyrhills people don’t wear them especially in alot of gas stations the workers don’t even wear them and even some restaurants so how can we enforce and help the situation when people simply won’t do there part. I believe the mandate should be back in place and enforced.
Agree with above grocery store a certain one people are not wearing them and we were made fun of by wearing ours we are 65 so I was taken back we won’t go back there. Your right about inside restaurants too some not wearing them in Pasco county saw it. We do not go in but its a free country. But if they do have mask ordinance in affect obey the laws of the land. Thx God bless