The city of Jacksonville has partnered with local hospitals and hospital administrators on a public service announcement urging residents to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday morning, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported 231 new cases of COVID-19 in Duval County, bringing the total up to 23,724. There are also 12 new confirmed COVID-19 related deaths, which puts the county total at 210.
The DOH also reported an 8.5% positive test rate in Jacksonville for Tuesday, up from the four preceding days, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. The County's overall percent positive rate is 11.2%, which the DOH says it calculates by dividing the total number of positive individuals by the total people tested.
“The data has shown a stabilization in hospitalizations and cases in our area. While this is good news that the rate of new cases and severity is not what it was, we cannot and must not become complacent. We must continue to practice preventative measures and exercise personal responsibility,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
“That means we should continue to social distance when we can, wash our hands frequently, wear masks in public places, and avoid large gatherings,” he went on to say. “These steps remain the greatest tools in our arsenal. The more we practice them as a community, the sooner this virus will leave us.”
To help avoid complacency, Mayor Curry said city staff collaborated with local hospital leaders on a public service announcement that was released this afternoon on social media urging community members to do their part and wear a mask.
The City of Jacksonville, Mayor @lennycurry and local hospital administrators want to remind everyone the importance of wearing a mask.
— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) August 12, 2020
“Wearing a mask is a simple, easy, and effective way to protect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones from the community spread of this virus,” Curry said.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Curry also referenced a shooting that took place over the weekend at a Northwest Jacksonville Park, which left three people injured, including a 15-year-old, as was reported by WJCT News partner News4Jax.
“No one wants to see this kind of violence in our community, particularly when children are involved or when they take place in a location like a city park,” the mayor said.
Curry said he is working with Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, State Attorney Melissa Nelson, as well as local community groups and nonprofits to address the causes of violent crime.
“The budget currently pending before the Jacksonville City Council, like the past five years, reaffirms my commitment to investing in enforcement prevention and intervention. We must continue to invest in our children and our neighborhoods,” he said.
The budget includes funding for youth programs through the Kids Hope Alliance, as well as for prevention and intervention programs like Cure Violence, which aims at reducing violence by treating it like a communicable disease.
With the help of state funding, the city will be adding a third Cure Violence location.
“The Cure Violence program is currently working in two neighborhoods with traditionally high violent crime rates, and they're making a difference,” said Mayor Curry.
The Northside Bridges Cure Violence location has reported one murder in the last 100 days and earlier this year the Noah’s Ark site saw an 85 day stretch without a single murder, according to the city.
“I'm grateful for the violence interrupters currently fighting two epidemics - violence and COVID-19 - and commit to doing what I can to support them in their important efforts, including an additional $1.75 million in my proposed budget before City Council,” Mayor Curry said.
Details on the third Cure Violence location have not yet been released.