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Mayor Curry Addresses Coronavirus Concerns In Duval County

Mayor Curry with other city personnel to his left while at a podium
Sky Lebron
/
WJCT News
Mayor Lenny Curry (at podium) addressing COVID-19 concerns Thursday afternoon.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry addressed coronavirus concerns across Duval County at a news conference Thursday afternoon, including four Jacksonville Fire and Rescue firefighters being cleared for work after being exposed to the virus and a return to classes for Duval County students. 

The four firefighters had already self-quarantined themselves for seven days after attending an Emergency Medical Service Conference in Tampa. The four will return to work on Friday. 

Curry said this should remind everyone to keep their distance from other people. 

“Yesterday when I was out elbow bumping people I would see people shaking hands and they have a level of comfort shaking hands with people,” Curry said. “‘They may be your best friend, they may be your cousin. That doesn't mean they could not have potentially been in a place that was exposed.” 

Curry is urging people not to show up at doctors’ offices or hospitals if they are symptomatic, but to first call a physician and discuss concerns with them.

And as Thursday afternoon, Curry said students in the Duval County Public School System will be returning to school after spring break. He said he’s in constant communication with Duval Superintendent Diana Greene on next steps.

“Right now the superintendent and the superintendents in all other 66 other counties and the governor's office are collaborating. I'm getting information flow back from the superintendent. And they'll make that decision with the data they have,” Curry said. 

The 12 state universities in Florida are telling students to stay home for two additional weeks following spring break until the end of the month. 

Curry said if anyone feels symptoms like fever or cough, rather than go directly to a hospital or doctor’s office, they should consider using telemedicine. 

Additional screening questions are being asked when people call 911 to better identify potential coronavirus cases. 

The city is also telling city employees to limit travel in CDC-listed risk level 3 zones, including countries like Italy and China.

“These are good steps and the right steps to take but it's going to take more than that to stop this virus,” Curry said. “It's going to take changes in our personal behavior from all of us to reduce and prevent the spread. Do not shake hands, maintain a safe distance from other individuals at gatherings, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. If you're sick, stay home and avoid contact with individuals you know to be sick. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with disinfecting agents. We all play a role in preventing this disease.”

He said we can expect more events to be cancelled or postponed to prevent large gatherings. 

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Duval County. There is one confirmed case in Nassau County, and a second confirmed coronavirus patient is isolated in St. Johns County after traveling from New York.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.