Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles gave the Pasco County Commission a brief update on the status of COVID-19 in the county, during the board’s Aug. 19 meeting.
Biles passed along information he had just received from Mike Napier, director of Pasco County’s office of the Florida Department of Health.
The county administrator said Pasco reported 39 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths on Aug. 18.
“Our seven-day running average is about 50 (new cases a day), right now,” Biles said. He also noted the county’s positivity rate was under 5% for two days in a row.
“The positivity rate is going down. That means that people are distancing; where they can’t distance, they’re wearing masks or other protective gear to help minimize the transmission of the disease, one to the other,” Biles said.
“We’re trending down. That’s positive. We’re still not to where we were in April/May. It’s going to take a while,” Bile said.
However, the administrator added: “Once we go to in-person school, starting Monday (Aug. 24), assuming that still happens, odds are that’s going to creep back up for a little while, until it settles back down.”
That, Biles noted, is “just the nature of gathering people in groups again.
“Ultimately, where we would like to be is in the mid- to low-20s, on a new cases per day basis. That’s probably sustainable, long-term, because I think this is going to be with us for a while.
“Today, we’re in the low-50s. Cut that in half. Get through the school start and see what happens with that,” Biles said.
He said the declining cases are a good sign, he said.
“What it is showing, from a county perspective, is that the residents and people here are taking it seriously. They are maintaining distancing, in general, and where they can’t, they’re wearing masks or shields — or whatever they’re doing,” Biles said.
“This isn’t going to go away. I think we’re still at least six months out from a vaccine. So, we’re going to still have to continue watching it,” Biles said.
But, there is one silver lining, the county administrator said: “The same things that prevent and inhibit transmission of this are the same things that prevent and inhibit the transmission of flu and cold, and all of the other nasty things that happen in the winter.”
The upcoming flu season should have a reduced number of cases, Biles said.
Published August 26, 2020