WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There's progress for Palm Beach County. That's what county Mayor Dave Kerner is reporting after the most recent COVID-19 data. In his Friday updates, Kerner said at the moment the county's positivity rate is sitting at 6.5% as of Thursday.
"The daily positivity rate is a metric I focus on because it's very accurate on determining how widespread the virus is in our community at this moment," he said.
Friday afternoon, Kerner announced an antigen test will be available sometime next week at the Ballpark at the Palm Beaches testing site. 600 to 700 tests will be available each day. The significance of this test is that you get results within hours. He said they will be available for people 65-years-old or older, anyone under the age of 18, or if someone is symptomatic.
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"Antigen testing would be very useful for our first responders, deputy sheriffs, police officers, fire rescue so that we don't have to put them in quarantine for 14 days there losing very essential personnel and staff that need to be out on the streets protecting us," he said.
Another hot topic under discussion is moving the county to Phase Two. Kerner said the move involves authorization from the county commissioners to send a letter of request to Governor DeSantis. The decision is important to the Palm Beach School District because it allows students back into classrooms on campus, something John McDaniel would like to see soon.
"I think we got get the kids back in school to be honest with you, as soon as possible. The COVID is an important thing to keep your eye on but it's not the only thing," he said.
Kerner said once schools are open he believes the district needs to evaluate the county's metrics, numbers, and positivity rate on an ongoing basis.
"I have fears about opening up two massive institutions, Phase Two businesses, and the school board at the same time. I hope we can continue to work with the school board to find a way to stagger those two approaches," he said.
At the end of the day, Kerner said moving to Phase Two means we have to be vigilant in wearing masks, business owners follow regulations, and a positivity rate that's trending down.