Palm Beach County children are showing long-term lung damage from COVID-19, two firefighters are in intensive care and hospital admissions, along with cases, are spiking, two top county officials said Tuesday, painting a grim picture of the continuing toll of pandemic.
“Certainly, all indications are things are not getting better, they are not getting steady, they are getting worse,” Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Chief Reginald Duren told county commissioners, adding that 109 firefighters are in quarantine.
His remarks came after Palm Beach County Health Director Dr. Alina Alonso said the county is failing to meet four of the six benchmarks that it must hit to declare that the deadly coronavirus is under control.
“This is spreading quite rapidly throughout Florida and this virus is going to be around for a very long time,” she said.
Alonso’s frank, but disturbing, account of the continuing march of the virus came as state health officials reported that an additional 7,347 people were diagnosed statewide, including 396 more in Palm Beach County.
Also, while the number of deaths have declined in recent weeks even as the number of cases have skyrocketed, 63 deaths were reported overnight, including 20 in Palm Beach County, a one-day record.
The fatalities reported in the county included a 31-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man. While most of the others were over the age of 65, a 54-year-old man and three other men in their early 60s also succumbed to the virus.
The state’s death toll, including non-Florida residents, now stands at 3,943, including 577 in Palm Beach County.
With 213,794 cases, Florida has the third highest number of confirmed infections in the nation, behind only New York and California. In Palm Beach County, 17,638 people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory disease.