The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, Nov. 25, with more than half of those cases — 28 — in Key West.

The increases bring the total number of reported cases in Monroe County to 3,204, including 84 non-residents. Key West’s total rose to 1,835, while Key Largo increased to 406 cases, Marathon 299, Tavernier 205, Summerland Key 99, Islamorada 78, Big Pine 62, Stock Island 61, Cudjoe Key 15, Key Colony Beach 14, Little Torch 11, Long Key reported nine cases, Sugarloaf has eight, Conch Key and Duck Key each have two reported cases, and Rockland Key, Big Torch, Cross Key and Plantation Key each reported one case. According to the local health department, the county had one homeless case and four cases categorized as

State-wide, the number of COVID-19 cases drew closer to 1 million, jumping to 961,676 on Wednesday, with 18,254 resident deaths. The state’s positivity rate continued to fluctuate, rising on Wednesday to 7.08%, while Monroe County’s positivity rate followed suit, rising to 11.62%. There have been 27 coronavirus-related deaths in Monroe County since the start of the pandemic in March. Currently, there are seven people hospitalized with the virus at Lower Keys Medical Center.

In one of the more visible cases of the virus, Monroe County Commissioner Craig Cates, his wife, Cheryl, and daughter Crystal, who were hospitalized at LKMC with COVID-19, were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, according to a social media post on Monday from the couple’s daughter, Tammy Cates Berard.

Berard posted, “Right now, Cheryl and Crystal are critically ill, with Crystal being in the most danger,’ adding “They have a long hard journey ahead of them but the family is very hopeful that all three of them will return home to us.”

Berard had not updated the post as of Thursday.

U.S. 1 Radio’s Morning Magazine reported earlier this week 35 inmates at the Monroe County jail had tested positive recently for the coronavirus. All of the cases tested were either very mild or asymptomatic, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt.

All appropriate inmates and staff are being tested, Linhardt said. The affected inmates have been moved to a separate wing of the jail and are in single cells where they are being medically monitored while under quarantine.

But the cold and flu season is right around the corner, which could increase the spread of the coronavirus, according to health officials.

“If you wear your mask and wash your hands, you’ll prevent getting those diseases, or at least you’ll really cut the chances down,” Florida Department of Health in Monroe County Administrator Bob Eadie said earlier this week on U.S. 1 Radio.

“Our behaviors are what’s going to drive our results here,” he continued, “So we need to be really careful and really vigilant. That’s the reality, that’s where we are.”

The Key West City Commission voted unanimously last week to approve emergency orders imposing stricter mask rules, as well as canceling all special events on city properties through Dec. 31.

As cities seek ways to fight the virus, testing locations have increased through the Keys. A listing of those locations can be found at http://www.monroe.floridahealth.gov/covid19.

The local Department of Health recently announced a new walk-up kiosk in Big Pine Key, provided by Curative, with more than 500 tests a day available to the public. The testing site is located at Moose Lodge No. 1585, 21 Wilder Road.

The company’s oral-fluid swab testing is an alternative method to nasopharyngeal swabs in testing for COVID-19. Results are sent to patients via SMS text or email within 24-48 hours.

Testing is currently available by walk-up or appointment. Appointments are available at http://www.curative.com.

The Florida Department of Health offers free COVID-19 testing to all Monroe County residents, with valid identification. Appointments are required; to schedule, call 786-910-9764 or email testingmonroe@flhealth.gov.

In Key West, testing is available on Wednesdays at the Gato Building, 1100 Simonton St., from 9 a.m. to noon, and Fridays, from 1 to 4 p.m. In Tavernier, testing is available on Tuesdays at the Roth Building, 50 High Point Road, from 1 to 4 p.m. In Marathon, testing is available on Thursdays at the Ruth Ivins Center, 3333 Overseas Highway, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. All events are scheduled as weather permits.

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