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New COVID-19 cases creeping up on July level

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of November 19, 2020)

As families ponder how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving and get back to something resembling a “normal” life, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported here this week crept closer to the level experienced during the July peak.

In the seven days leading up to Monday press time, 332 Indian River County residents were infected with the virus, according to state reports.  The daily average of 47 cases was closing in on the peak July average of 55 new daily cases.

Thirty-three of those testing positive in the past week were island residents. That makes 54 island residents diagnosed with COVID-19 thus far in November – a 30 percent increase over the total for the first eight months of the pandemic.

Two people have been reported dead of COVID-19 complications so far this month, and 38 people have been admitted to the hospital with the virus. As of Monday evening, 14 people were hospitalized, and 50 percent of the county’s 28 staffed intensive care beds were available.

Nursing homes and large events are no longer the source of major outbreaks inflating case numbers here, but long-term care facilities still have isolated cases in residents and staff.

The guidance being pushed out now by public health officials is that the virus is mostly spreading at smaller social gatherings with friends and family, and in situations where people let their guard down and are in close contact – such as kids’ sleepovers or carpooling to after-school sports.