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Jacksonville mayor quarantining after COVID-19 exposure; Lot J testing site to move indoors

A week ago, Mayor Lenny Curry enacted a mandatory mask requirement for indoor locations in Duval County. Since then, he has received pushback.

UPDATE: The Lot J COVID-19 testing site is moving to the Regency area on July 15 and will be indoors so it will not be affected by the weather.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry hosted a virtual news conference from his home Tuesday after he says he was exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Curry said he has since tested negative for the virus, but wanted to take an extra step out of an abundance of caution by following CDC guidelines for anyone who believes they were exposed.

He says he's been in constant contact with his office staff who have made him aware of the latest hospital numbers. As of Tuesday, there are 375 COVID-19 patients being treated at hospitals in Jacksonville. Of those, 68 of those patients are in ICU.

RELATED: The riskiest activities for COVID-19, according to experts

Curry says that while the city is looking at more COVID-19 hospitalizations than in April, the number of patients in the ICU are lower. He said the city is currently experiencing a 8.1% positive testing rate, much lower than the Florida average of roughly 15%.

Regarding capacity levels and available beds, Curry noted that this is a busy time of year for hospitals - COVID-19 aside.

"Hospitals are busy, they are busy with many things nonrelated to COVID," he said. "It's just a busy time for them."

The mayor said that so far the city has performed over 120,000 COVID-19 tests and is working to increase that number with the opening of three new federal testing sites on Wednesday.

Additional Federal Testing Sites

HOURS: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • First Coast Senior High School -  590 Duval Station Rd.
  • Frank H. Peterson Academies - 7450 Wilson Blvd.
  • Regency Square Mall – SEARS - 9501 Arlington Expressway

RELATED: LIST: Where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Jacksonville

Curry says these new sites can test 3,750 people each day making a total of 5000+ total tests available each day. Testing is free and no symptoms are required. 

Additionally, the Lot J COVID-19 testing site will soon be able to stay open despite severe Florida weather with a planned move to an indoor location in the Regency area starting July 15. 

Curry was questioned about a lawsuit filed against the city by Florida House Rep. Anothony Sabatini earlier this week regarding the "unconstitutional mandate" of wearing a mask in public.

RELATED: As Florida's COVID-19 cases rise, deaths and hospitalizations plummet

Curry said that the mandate was in response to consultation with leading health officials and believes that his administration made the right choice in putting the mandate in place. He noted that masks are the easiest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the best possible route to returning to a sense of normalcy.

"Businesses are open at certain capacities... people are going back to work, let's just be personally responsible," Curry said. "We want people to be out in the community and leading as normal lives as possible."

He says that the mask mandate is enforceable but "we don't want to be operating in a police state." Curry is encouraging stores to push the issue on mask mandates and says if you are in a public space and see people not wearing masks to keep your distance.

The latest numbers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department regarding staffing and inmate impacts from COVID-19.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

  • 81 sworn personal in quarantine
  • 140 probation officers/personnel in quartine
  • 189 inmates with positive cases in the jail
  • 1038 in some form of quarantine or another

That means 45%of jail inmates are now in COVID quarantine.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue

  • 187 in quarantine
  •  51 tested positive
  • Noted the positive cases has significantly decreased from their highest numbers

RELATED: 239 scientists: Coronavirus can spread through air; urge WHO to acknowledge

RELATED: White House again rejects national strategy on masks

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