With a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the United States, certain states are feeling the effects much more than others. For Florida, the past two weeks have seen an immense rise in the number of positive cases. Since the start of the pandemic, Florida has just recently surpassed 300,000 positive cases in the state. On the sunny eastern coast, Palm Beach County is the area with the third highest number of positive COVID-19 cases. With a population of nearly 1.5 million people, the rate at which the virus has been spreading is concerning for residents, county officials, and even the rest of the country. But not only is the rate concerning, but also the attitude towards the seriousness and severity of this virus.
A rise in the number of cases has been attributed to a disbelief in the dangers of the virus, which creates a snowball effect that leads to more cases. Misinformation online that says only the elderly and those of high risk are more susceptible to complications due to COVID-19 are harmful and invalid. The lack of information about this new virus cannot let us conclude anything definite about the effects. In Palm Beach County, there has been reports of a five year old girl, a new born boy and a 3 year old boy who have all been infected with the virus. Though there have been many fatalities in the county, there was a 22 year old patient who passed away due to the virus.
On Sunday, July 12th, there was a daily high number of 1,171 cases recorded in Palm Beach County. In total there have been over 90,000 positive cases in the county, it is now the county with the third highest number of cases following Miami-Dade and Broward just south of it. Due to this, hospitals in the area are beginning to see that the beds in their intensive care units, or ICUs, are filling up, with some hospitals reporting only two empty beds. The concern in this is not only that these hospitals will not be able to take more patients severely infected with COVID-19, but also that they will not be able to treat other patients who are experiencing other severe accidents or illnesses.
Government officials are doing what they can to contain the virus. On June 23rd, Palm Beach passed a countywide mask mandate while in public. However, the county’s health director, Dr. Alina Alonso, has said that late night gatherings at restaurants and bars as well as private parties of groups of 10 or more have been fueling the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In order to combat this, the county has issued an order prohibiting restaurants and bars from selling alcohol or food from eleven in the evening until five in the morning, allowing for only takeout and delivery. A county administrator, Verdenia Baker, has also stated that policies are being drafted to increase fines (which are now at $500) for businesses and stores that aren’t following COVID-19 safety and health guidelines. But entertainment and dining are not the only places where the county is seeing issues; Dr. Alonso says that church services are also leading to increased infections.
Recent news on July 14th states that Palm Beach county schools will remain online only until the pandemic cases lower in the state, beginning with the younger students, kindergarten and first grade, returning first. The theory behind this plan is that the younger students are the hardest to teach online and the county can see if the virus spreads with a smaller population first rather than all of the students going back at once. The plan for the county is to have students slowly start returning when they enter phase two plans. While the governor ordered the whole state enter into phase two in early June he excluded the top three counties with the most number of cases — Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Beyond listening to our government guidelines, recommendations and regulations, it is on the hands of the constituents to take their own personal measures to contain the virus. The use of PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, is imperative to slow down the rate of contagion. If two parties are both using a facial covering and speaking to one another or even passing one another, it significantly reduces the possibility for transmission. With a virus like COVID-19, where doctors are seeing a lot of asymptomatic patients, it is important for us to take precautions in case we are sick and do not know. Recommendations from both the Center for Disease Control, or the CDC, and Johns Hopkins University state that the use of facial coverings has been effective in significantly reducing the transmission possibility of COVID-19. When masks are not used, maintaining distance between one another is crucial. This is because the particles settle when we speak, sneeze or cough at a slow rate and depending on the strength of the action the particles can travel and settle at a maximum of six feet away.
At Clinical Supplies we understand that due to the quick rise in the number of positive cases, safe and effective PPE is getting harder to find. The N95 is the best respirator on the market; that is why we are working with the American flagship N95 mask brand, 3M, to bring you the N95 mask. Since 3M is a domestic company, we are able to verify the safety and reliability of this respirator in how it is being produced. The N95 is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, and is hospital grade. It achieves a very close facial fit on each side and effectively filters out any airborne particles. We want our citizens to stay safe and we want the number of positive cases to diminish. We are here to provide you with the safety and quality you need in an N95 mask.