As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, the Florida Department of Health report 736,024 total COVID-19 cases, including 15,412 deaths, according to the state’s Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

However, the silver lining is the state is reporting less than a 5% positivity rate. To date, 37,456 people have been tested, but only 1,592 of those test results came back positive.

Closer to home, the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County reported total 1,958 cases Tuesday.

To put those numbers in perspective, last Wednesday, Oct. 7, the county reported 1,895 cases.

The local death toll also increased, from 23 to 24.

In a breakdown of the most recent case numbers released by the county, Key West has the highest number of cases with 886. In the remainder of Monroe County, the numbers were lower, as Key Largo reported 267, Marathon 212, Tavernier 145 and Islamorada 54.

Other areas in Monroe County reported the following number of cases: Stock Island 53; Summerland Key 43; Big Pine Key 38; Key Colony Beach 11; Little Torch six; Sugarloaf five; Cudjoe Key and Long Key both with four; Ramrod Key three and Rockland Key, Big Torch, Marathon Shores, Layton and Duck Key each reporting one case.

“It is like watching the stock market go up and down,” said Monroe County Health Director Bob Eadie on U.S. 1 Radio, “It really doesn’t mean anything unless you’re in it for the long run. You need to see what the trends are.”

Eadie said when looking at the positivity rates, “What you’re really doing is trying to make a guesstimate on how many people within your community are infected with the disease.”

He was encouraged by the lower positive test rate.

“We’re in it for the long run, and just remember, every day is that much closer to the end, that’s just where we are,” Eadie said.

When asked if he agrees with Eadie’s thoughts on the numbers and percentages, Florida Department of Health in Monroe County Medical Director Dr. Mark Whiteside said, “We agree almost completely.”

Whiteside added all the COVID-related deaths have been associated with the elderly and those with underlining medical conditions.

Whiteside offered his own perspective looking ahead, which was not quite as optimistic as Eadie.

“We may be looking at the beginnings of a global second wave that could be worse than ever,” Whiteside said about the pandemic.

Multiple countries in Europe are seeing an alarming number of cases, according to Whiteside. In the United States, 31 states have seen a recent increase in cases, while the remainder are holding steady in their numbers. Only two or three states are seeing a decline in numbers in the past two or three weeks, Whiteside said.

And in Monroe County, the numbers are starting to rise, Whiteside said.

“We’re definitely entering a dangerous period, I think we would agree that some kind of surge is inevitable, we’re hopeful it’s not major,” Whiteside stated.

He jokingly added “everything just takes longer to get to Key West,” and while he believes Monroe County is doing a good job, residents and visitors can not let down our guard and should keep up good health measures.

Those measures include wearing a mask, continuing to practice social distancing and employing proper hygiene.

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