Pinellas County recorded another 113 cases of Covid-19 Thursday, making it the third consecutive day with more than 100 reported infections. Four new deaths were also recorded, bringing the county’s total to 792 since the pandemic began in March, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.
The county’s rolling two-week positivity rate has also been slowly ticking upward. After dropping as low as 3 percent in early October, the percentage now stands at 3.8 percent, mirroring a similar statewide trend showing a positivity rate of over six percent for the past three days.
COVID update: 4.0% positive in our overnight county data. That’s two drops in a row, and that’s the good news. Bad news – our rolling two week average is 3.8%. We have work to do to offset the mask confusion the governor created. Be responsible. Be respectful. Be St. Pete! ☀️
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) October 15, 2020
During a city council meeting Thursday, Amber Boulding, the city’s emergency manager, said that Covid numbers aren’t going down as quickly as they were before and there are concerns that an increase in cases could mean an eventual rise in the number of deaths, something she will be monitoring in the coming weeks.
“It is worrisome we are seeing somewhat of an increasing trend,” she said, noting that the higher numbers aren’t necessarily surprising when measuring them against the reopening of bars and schools.
Deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin echoed comments made earlier this week by Mayor Rick Kriseman regarding stepping up enforcement of the mask mandate, and said that city leadership is working with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce to get the word out to businesses.
“We want to mitigate any rise in cases as we move forward,” she said.
Pinellas County administrator Barry Burton, who extended the state of local emergency Wednesday, also expressed concern that the numbers are going in the wrong direction.
“Over these last several weeks, we’ve seen numbers that are stronger,” he said. “Now we are starting to see an uptick. I don’t think it’s long enough to say that is a trend, but it’s something that we’re concerned about and we’re watching.”
Burton also said a group of local hospital CEOs and physicians met last night with Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. They’ve been asked to come up with some considerations for when Pinellas County might consider revising its ordinance requiring face coverings. Burton said they would have a report ready for the Tuesday, Oct. 20 board of county commissioners meeting.