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Sheriff: Indian River County sees increase in domestic violence during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 11:22 AM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 15:04:49-04

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Indian River County is seeing an increase in domestic violence and DUI cases during the coronavirus pandemic, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

"We understand everyone's frustrated," said Sheriff Deryl Loar. "We need to be very, very careful with that."

The sheriff said the county offers multiple resources to victims of domestic violence, including crisis intervention and two victim's advocates.

"We do essentially hold their hands, walk them through the court procedures," said Sheriff Loar. "We have other resources to include SafeSpace that we can make arrangements with."

To contact the Victim's Advocate Department of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, call 772-978-6255 or click here.


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The sheriff added that social distancing in the county appears to be working, based on the inmate population at the Indian River County Jail.

Sheriff Loar said 479 inmates were incarcerated as of Tuesday morning, compared to 529 three weeks ago.

"That tells us that folks are complying in some way," the sheriff said, referring to Florida's statewide 'stay at home' order, which is in effect until April 30.

Sheriff Loar said if deputies find people are violating the 'stay at home' order, the violators will be educated and advised about the rules on their first offense.

"At the last case, we don't want to, but if we have to, we will be arresting them," said Sheriff Loar.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

Health officials said on Tuesday that drive-through COVID-19 testing is available at the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital by appointment only.

To date, 338 people have been tested at the drive-through site.

To make an appointment, call 772-226-4846. A health care worker will screen you and ask about your symptoms, whether you've traveled recently, and if you've been exposed to someone who's tested positive for COVID-19.

If you meet the criteria, you'll be given an appointment time.

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According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indian River County.

15 people in the county have been hospitalized because of the virus, and no one has died.