The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Putnam County didn’t increase Monday. Instead, it dropped by one.
As of the Monday night report, the state Department of Health website reported 42. The department reported 43 cases Sunday night.
Mary Garcia, administrator for the Department of Health in Putnam County, said the number dropped because one case was transferred to another county where the person currently resides.
While there were no new cases reported Monday, positive coronavirus cases jumped from 29 to the now-reported 42 during the weekend.
The number included nine new cases reported Sunday by the Department of Health. Seven of the nine new cases were from East Palatka – including five children 10 or younger.
The positive cases included a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. None of their cases were travel-related.
“It’s hard to have youth become cases during this pandemic,” Garcia said in an email.
As of Monday night, 843 people had been tested in Putnam County, with 800 negative tests. Eight people have been hospitalized due to the virus, with Putnam County reporting one death. The victim – a 54-year-old man – died in a hospital in another county.
“Health department officials once again urge everyone to stay home and work remotely if at all possible,” Garci said. “If you have to venture outside, wear a mask and practice your social distancing.
“Don’t forget to frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or if you do not have water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as contaminated hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Residents can learn more about preventing COVID-19 by visiting floridahealthcovid19.gov/prevention/.
“Finally, COVID-19 does not discriminate by race, sex or age,” Garcia said. “Be a hero and help us stop the spread of this virus.”
Of the reported cases in Putnam, the latest data from the Department of Health showed 21 of the cases were in Palatka, 12 in East Palatka, eight in Interlachen and one in Crescent City.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office urged residents to not have gatherings of more than 10 people or play dates with children. The sheriff’s office also said to maintain social distancing when going in public places and, if possible, to send only one person to shop or on errands.
Statewide, positive cases grew to 21,019 Monday with 499 deaths.
Florida residents might be social distancing and wearing face masks for a year because of COVID-19, the state’s top public health officer said Monday.
“Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal and we need to adapt and protect ourselves,” state Surgeon General and Florida Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees told reporters.
When asked to explain his remarks, Rivkees said, “As long as we are going to have COVID in the environment, and this is a tough virus, we are going to have to practice these measures so we are all protected.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Ashley Moody warned Floridians to be alert for scams as the federal government begins sending out money as part of a $2.3 trillion coronavirus economic-stimulus package.
“Anytime money is being doled out by the government, scammers will devise schemes to steal as much of it as possible,” Moody said in a video. The first checks to Americans who qualify – up to $1,200 for eligible individuals or $2,400 for people married and filing taxes jointly – are being directly deposited into bank accounts of tax filers who have submitted bank information to the Internal Revenue Service.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.