Health department: County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate slowly improving

By Wesley LeBlanc

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The county’s vaccination rate is slowly approaching its 70% target, but there is still a long way to go.

Clay County Florida Department of Health administrator Heather Huffman told the Board of County Commissioners at their June 8 meeting that the county’s overall vaccination rate, which applies to anyone age 12 and older – the youngest to be vaccinated – is 39 % lies. That’s half of the herd immunity target of 70%.

Huffman said that since many younger people are still in the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine, two of which are on the market that require two doses, the percentage is lower. As more young people in Clay County get their second vaccine, the number is expected to rise.

It’s great news for Clay County, but Huffman urged everyone who will listen while this is the best time to get vaccinated. The county isn’t just offering a $ 10 grocery voucher at its public office at 3229 Bear Run Blvd. in Orange Par, but the vaccine is currently “free, free, free”. Huffman said she doesn’t know of a time the vaccine won’t be free, but considering it is currently guaranteed to be free, the best time to get vaccinated is now.

As for the COVID-19 numbers, she said cases have stayed in the 10-20 positive cases range and she doesn’t expect them to increase. However, the state recently changed the reporting process – instead of updating the numbers daily, it is now doing this weekly.

Elsewhere, Huffman said the county closed the flu season with essentially “zero” cases. There are many factors that likely contributed to this. People were more hygiene conscious, products and workplaces were upgraded to prevent COVID-19, people wore masks and many stayed home where possible.

“We don’t see any surge of anything else weird,” said Huffman. “We see [foodborne outbreaks] and so, but that’s typical for this time of year. “

She also said it was okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, especially those needed for things like elementary, middle and high school, as well as college.

On other matters, an Orange Park man pleaded with the BCC to halt any development that could be imminent for the Orange Park Country Club.

Bill Engelbrecht said the club’s president had been informed that a property developer was planning to build a single and multi-family unit on the now disused golf course. He said that the currently planned development of a residential unit does not allow “additional housing over 629 family lots” and that the developer would have to submit an application to the county planning committee and the BCC to change a PUD.

“I beg you that, if this happens, you refuse the request,” said Engelbrecht. “This is neither the right project nor the right place.

“It’s not compatible with the neighborhood. I know that you have received many emails about the possible development of the disused golf course. “

Since the county is built on a clay foundation, such a project in the country club would require a lot of excavation, resulting in a lot of trucks hauling away clay and bringing in filler dirt, causing traffic problem as the club has only one entrance and this is Blanding Boulevard and the safety of the Could affect residents in the area.

“This would devalue the houses, which means less basic income tax,” said Engelbrecht. “If additional home locations are approved, you need to consider the … additional burden that would result [school, fire and police]. I am not against the development, but this development project is not the right time or the right place. “

The BCC does not usually comment on what public speakers are saying, so no one on the podium responded to Engelbrecht’s request.

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