It’s certainly cause for cautious optimism – Flagler County seems to have made it to the other end of the Delta variant. Weekly case numbers are on a steady decline, reporting the lowest numbers since July. National numbers are following a similar trend, also the lowest they’ve been in about three months.
According to data from the New York Times, Flagler County is designated ‘High’ on the risk scale for COVID-19 infection. The scale has five levels (Low – Moderate – High – Very High – Extremely High), and Flagler is in the middle. Most counties in Florida are under a Very High rating, including St. Johns, Putnam, and Volusia counties, all of Flagler’s neighbors.
A month and a half ago, Flagler County went through its worst stretch since the start of the pandemic. 7-day case averages reached 134 on August 27th, almost twice as high as the previous record (71 on January 8th). According to the most recent data, designated for October 20th, the current 7-day average caseload is 10. In less than two months’ time, you could say Flagler’s outlook has gotten thirteen times better. There’s still a ways to go before Flagler competes with its May/June stretch, which saw 7-day averages shrink to single digits.
AdventHealth Palm Coast, which is the area’s largest hospital, currently sits at a 71% I.C.U. occupancy rate. Twelve patients are admitted with COVID-19, and there are six I.C.U. beds currently available. The peak hospitalization rate for Flagler County was August 6th-12th, when 84 patients were reported.
As for vaccination rates, 57% of the country is fully vaccinated, with 66% having received at least one dose. For the population ages 12 & up and 65 and up, the fully vaccinated rates are 67% and 85%, respectively. Flagler’s individual numbers are relatively similar, with 69.37% having at least one dose and 61.48% fully vaccinated. Flagler is less vaccinated than St. Johns, but more vaccinated than Volusia and Putnam.
In estimates from August 2018, 5.7% of Florida children were designated with religious exemptions for their vaccinations.
Compared to the situation earlier in the pandemic, Flagler County’s unemployment rate has rebounded to a number close to where the national average stands. The local rate currently stands at 5.1%, compared to 5.2% on the national scale. April 20th, 2020 was Flagler County’s peak, when a record 15.3% unemployment rate was seen.
Local COVID-19 tests are available at several locations. The Department of Health operates a drive-through testing site at the Flagler Airport, open 8:00am – 11:00am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until further notice. Additionally, testing and vaccinations are available at most local pharmacies.
COVID-19 vaccinations are also available at locations such as CVS, Publix, Walgreens, and Grace Community Pharmacy.