Jacksonville mayor: COVID-19 cases are up in the city, hospitalizations are not

Jacksonville mayor gives update on COVID-19 in Jacksonville, 6/22/2020

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry gave an update on COVID-19 in Jacksonville on Monday afternoon, saying that cases are up but hospitalizations are not.

To date, Duval County has seen 3,085 cases, 60 deaths and 318 hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19, according to numbers from the Florida Department of Health.

Curry said currently, city-wide, only 14 intensive care unit patients have COVID-19. He also said that the ICU capacity for the city is at 68% capacity, which he said is lower than before the pandemic began.

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Curry said there are a variety of reasons that cases are up -- access to testing has increased significantly, employers are requiring negative COVID-19 test results to allow employees to return to work, and also some people are not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

“Without precautions, to be clear, the spread is real, which is what we said when we reopened. It spreads person to person,” Curry said. “For example, there have been people in crowded bars, walking on crowded streets who are not wearing masks and who are ignoring social distancing.”

Curry said he has had citizens ask him to make mask-wearing mandatory.

“I do not think that’s a prudent action to take. We do not need to have law enforcement, out in public, enforcing this. It’s not an efficient use of resources and we’re not going to start prosecuting people, ticketing people and arresting people because they choose not to wear a mask,” Curry said.

Though he does not want to make masks mandatory, Curry stressed the importance of wearing a mask.

“Wearing a mask is not a political statement. It’s about protecting yourself and your loved ones and your neighbors. It’s about slowing the spread from asymptomatic carriers,” Curry said.