MONROE COUNTY — A recent spike in COVID-19 numbers in Monroe County has prompted local health department and county officials to remind residents to not let their guard down when it comes to wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing. There have been 201 cases in the past 14 days with a 7% positive test rate. A 5% positivity rate or less is considered desireable.

The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County on Monday reported 58 new cases over the weekend as well as the county’s latest fatality, a 90-year-old woman with underlying health conditions. Monroe now has 25 total resident deaths. As of Monday, seven people were hospitalized in the Lower Keys with COVID-19.

Key West continues to lead the Keys in total positive cases with 964 as of Monday, followed by Key Largo with 274 and Marathon with 220.

“We are going into season and we are going to see a spike in numbers,” health department administrator Bob Eadie said. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance to limit gatherings especially ones where masks are not used.”

In an abundance of caution, the Monroe County Commission meeting to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, will move from a hybrid meeting to virtual only.

Monroe County still requires facial coverings to be worn in all businesses with a few exceptions such as while sitting in a restaurant or bar to eat or drink or working out in a gym. Information on the facial covering requirements can be found at monroecountyem.com/covid19. While businesses may operate at 100% capacity, social distancing by maintaining a 6-foot separation between parties is still required.

Masks are required outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.

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