COVID-19 cases here rise after several week lull

After an encouraging start to September that saw a decrease in the county’s COVID-19 caseload, the past week was troubling with 109 new cases and four deaths, plus outbreaks at two of our larger nursing homes.

Hopefully, the jump in coronavirus cases and the re-emergence of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities is more of a fluke than a trend as the county’s cumulative case count sat at just under 3,100 at press time.

The barrier island continues to fare better than the mainland, with the 32963 ZIP code adding one new case roughly every other day for a pandemic total of 111 cases as of Monday.

Grace Rehabilitation Center’s active cases jumped from five residents to 11 residents, and Willowbrooke Court at Indian River Estates – which had fallen off the list of facilities with active cases – reported one resident and three staff members had tested positive this week, according to the Florida Department of Health data on Monday.

Kids have been back in school for a month now, and 13 of our public, private and charter schools have had students or staff test positive for COVID-19, necessitating the quarantine of hundreds of students.

Among the schools affected are five attended by beachside students – St. Edward’s School, Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach High, Sebastian River High and Gifford Middle School.

Meanwhile, parents face an Oct. 12 deadline to decide whether their children will return to their classrooms or study at home during the second nine-week grading period.

Predictions of a novel coronavirus vaccine making its debut in November filled national headlines this past week, with CDC Director Robert Redfield estimating it would take six to nine months to vaccinate everyone.

If the news reports prove correct, November might see the first COVID-19 vaccine administered to high-risk seniors in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

But whether those predictions are accurate or overly optimistic, now is high time for both young and old to get the seasonal flu vaccine.

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