Jax First Responder Tests Positive For COVID19; State Will Take Over Lot J Testing

Apr 10, 2020
Originally published on April 10, 2020 5:01 pm

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced a first responder with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue has tested positive for COVID-19.

The first responder was working at Fire Station 28, located on Hogan Road on the Southside, which JFRD Fire Chief Keith Powers said is the biggest station in the county.   

Three shifts’ worth of personnel were told to self-quarantine because they might have come into contact with the positive first responder. In all, Powers said, that sent home 47 people. 

“This is a reminder of the gravity of the situation, the danger that this virus, this ghost of a virus poses to our community,” Curry said. 

Related: Local, State And National Coronavirus Coverage

The news brings the total number of JFRD personnel not working because of potential exposure to COVID-19 to 63. 

Curry also announced that the drive-up testing site at TIAA Bank Field’s Lot J will continue this weekend, even though the federal government will no longer fund the site past Friday. 

“Governor Ron DeSantis called me last night to talk about that testing site as the feds wrap up,” Curry said. “He has offered to and agreed to ensure that we continue testing there under the state's guidance.” 

Starting Thursday, Curry said, an additional 150 tests will be available at the site per day, bringing the total number of people who can be tested there to 400. 

Curry also said positive test results should be coming back within three-to-five days, while negative tests will take an extra couple of days for a turnaround.

Director Steven Woodard said the testing methods will vary based on what is available, and to expect to see multiple tests over upcoming weeks. 

The federal government will continue to supply personal protective equipment.  

The rate of positive cases in comparison to the number of people tested is still low, according to Curry, at 5.6%. 

Both Lot J and the Prime Osborn Convention Center testing site will be closed on Easter Sunday. 

As for additional restrictions, Curry said the only one still being considered is a curfew. 

The mayor also suggested the usage of masks, but said right now he’s not considering making it mandatory for workers in the county to use. 

“The issue again there comes down to enforcement,” Curry said. “People ought to just do it voluntarily. I mean,we're not going to be going into businesses looking to see if they're wearing masks.” 

Curry also wanted to remind people in Duval County to fill out the 2020 Census. He said only half of the county’s residents have done so. 

“For each person not counted, Jacksonville loses approximately $1500 in federal funding per year,” Curry said. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.

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