Please Note: Due to the nature of information being released frequently regarding COVID-19, changes at the local, state and federal level may have occurred since answers were provided.
In attendance of the June 17 COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall will be City Manager Matthew Morton, Fire Chief Jerry Forte, FDOH-Flagler Administrator Bob Snyder, FDOH-Flagler Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bickel, and Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord.
WATCH THE VIRTUAL TOWN HALL HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO-K7wKgp6Y
Mr. Snyder highlighted that the three main priorities remain the same which are testing, contact tracing, and focusing on long-term care facilities and nursing homes. He provided a status on case numbers, hospitalizations and the positivity rate. He said wearing facial coverings, practicing social distancing and hand washing and good hygiene are the three things to do to prevent the spread. Last week, he said they had 67,000 masks to give away. Within five days, they passed out 50,000 masks. They are ordering more.
Mr. Lord then added some comments on the local status.
Chief Forte mentioned that locally, the cases and other factors are being monitored. He also mentioned that protections are in place for reasons and examples related to that point prior to COVID-19. He elaborated on reopening strategies taken so far and what that means going forward.
Mr. Morton re-emphasized the feedback he's received on our reopening strategy and the consistency of it. He mentioned the protocols in place for when City meetings resume.
Mayor Holland noted that they are appreciative of the patience of residents and the importance of staying connected and following guidelines.
Mayor Holland asked all four mask questions to the group for a discussion.
1. What will it take for you to make masks mandatory? The majority of residents, that could be asymptomatic, are walking around without any masks, therefore potentially endangering us all. In light of new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
2. Is there any science linking mask wearing and herd immunity?
3. Are food service workers required to wear masks?
4. Please discuss the importance of masks and any new case studies or research announced recently that supports this guidance to wear facial coverings and when.
Discussion on these questions begins 29:40 in the video and ends at 39:50.
5. If we have been out protesting, can we get COVID-19 tested without having symptoms?
Mr. Snyder said the community testing site at Daytona State College can give you a test after making an appointment by calling 386-313-4200.
6. Talk about the other states seeing an increase in positive cases and elaborate on what local groups are seeing for trends.
Mr. Snyder said some southern and western states are seeing an uptick in the last ten days in positive cases. A case in point is Arizona. Hear the discussion from 42:40 to 45:30.
7. What was the approach by Parks and Rec and local groups with regards to reopening amenities?
Mr. Morton said once guidance strategies were announced by national organizations and the federal government, the city and local groups worked together to find solutions and ideas on operating. So far, it's been a very responsible approach, Mr. Morton said. Hear the full answer from 46:25 to 51:20.