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COVID-19 cases remain high here; island total jumps

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of October 1, 2020)

For the second week in a row, Indian River County saw more than 100 new coronavirus cases, and this week the barrier island was responsible for 12 of the 126 new cases – the largest one-week jump in 32963 since early July.

As of press time Monday, the county’s case total stood at 3,225. Six people died over the past week from complications of the virus as Florida hit the 700,000-case mark – but nevertheless entered full Phase 3 reopening, allowing even gyms and fitness centers to operate at 100-percent capacity.

Sixty of the county’s 116 deaths – and half the most recent 10 deaths – have been residents of long-term care facilities, where cases have been popping up in nursing homes that had not previously appeared in the Florida Department of Health report on long-term care deaths, along with facilities that have been off the list for many weeks.

Last Wednesday nine senior-care facilities had positive cases among residents or staff, but by press time Monday that number was up to 13.

Grace Rehabilitation Center of Vero – rebranded Orchid Cove as of August – had 11 resident cases and one staff case on the state report, plus two residents transferred out, as of this weekend.

Administrator Edwin Rojas returned a call from Vero Beach 32963 but would not answer any questions about testing or infection protocols or whether the facility was complying with state direction to limit visitors. Rojas said he would relay our questions to the corporate office, but he would not provide the name of the parent corporation.

HarborChase of Vero is still on the report this week with six resident cases and seven staff cases. Sonata of Vero, Sea Breeze Rehab and The Promenade each are reporting one staff case.

But looking at the overall picture of the county’s active COVID-19 cases, residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities make up only a small fraction. The ages of the people testing positive are skewing younger once again, like they did in June and July.