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City Of Jacksonville Shuts Down Public Facilities, Cancels All Events

Ryan Ketterman
Visit Jacksonville
Downtown Jacksonville skyline file photo.

The Florida Health Department announced the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Duval County and Clay County late Thursday evening. 

On Friday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the indefinite suspension of all events and gatherings in city-owned facilities. 

Venues such as TIAA Bank Field, VyStar Veterans Memorial Area, the Times-Union Performing Arts Center, and the Prime Osborn Convention Center are closed until further notice.

All public libraries, parks and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are closed as well. 

“I have to act unilaterally, perhaps with actions that may be criticized in the future,” Curry said. “But the actions I have taken and those I will be taking moving forward will be those that are thought most effective by local experts for preventing or slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

In Jacksonville, an 83-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 in an assisted living facility close to the St. Johns Town Center. The Florida Department of Health said epidemiologists are still trying to determine how he contracted the coronavirus and whether his is a travel-related case.

The man was transported to Memorial Hospital by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue personnel. Curry said five first responders were exposed to the man without personal protective equipment. They are now all in self-quarantine. 

The Emergency Management Department has been in contact with JFRD to adjust policies to include extra levels of protection for first responders in order to reduce exposure. 

As for Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary elections on March 17, Curry said he is working with the Supervisor of Elections to open libraries and fire stations that serve as voting locations.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry voiced his frustrations with the Florida Department of Health in a Twitter thread Thursday night, saying he found out about the Jacksonville case in a press release from FDOH: 

A 57-year-old man also tested positive for the coronavirus in Clay County, and FDOH said an investigation is ongoing to determine if it’s a travel-related case.   

13 other COVID-19 cases were announced across the state Thursday night: 

  • Two positive cases were found in Palm Beach County; both are travel-related.
  • Two positive cases were found in Sarasota County. Both are out-of-state residents, and it is being determined if they are travel-related cases.
  • A 24-year-old female tested positive in Alachua County. This is a travel-related case. 
  • A 70-year-old male tested positive in Volusia County. This is a travel-related case. 
  • Five positive cases were found in Broward County. One of the cases is an out-of-state resident. Three are travel-related cases. One is related to the Port of Everglades. Another is still being investigated. 
  • A 49-year-old female tested positive in Hillsborough County. This is a travel-related case. 
  • A 77-year-old male tested positive in Lee County. It is being determined if it is a travel-related case. 

The Florida Department of Health is providing regular updates on the coronavirus in every Florida county. WJCT News is updating those numbers as they become available on its coronavirus page.

Former WJCT News reporter