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Dr. Alina Alonso says health department, school district 'on the same page' about data for reopening

Commissioner expresses concern about lag time in test results
Alonso coronavirus update
Posted at 10:00 AM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 18:20:55-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The top medical professional in Palm Beach County said Tuesday that her office and the school district are "on the same page" when it comes to the data being used to determine when children should be allowed to return to campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, told county commissioners that the School District of Palm Beach County uses the same metrics as the state "so we're all on the same page in terms of being able to get to the place they need to be to be able to bring the kids into the school."

Alonso said there are lots of modifications that still need to be made to get classrooms compliant with social distancing guidelines.

"It's quite a bit of work that they need to do and they're working feverishly to get all those things done," Alonso said.

The Palm Beach County school board voted earlier this month to delay the start of the academic year until Aug. 31 and to begin the year with distance learning.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay also shared her concern about the lag time in coronavirus test results.

Alonzo said many of the state's universities are "not equipped" to receive the licensing they need for wide-scale testing, but McKinlay called the long gap between when a person gets tested and when the results are received "unacceptable."

"It is absolutely unacceptable and completely ineffective in combating this virus for people to have to wait that long," she said.

During the meeting, Alonso said the positivity rate among children is at 14% statewide.

Alonso also spoke about a 9-year-old child who died from the virus in Hamilton County.

"There's so much that we still don't know about the disease Keep in mind, everybody, that it's been less than a year that this new virus has come out and it takes many years to get down to the point where you understand what the virus does."