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Many Palm Beach County beaches to remain closed Wednesday

Posted: 9:58 AM, Oct 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-03 13:19:13Z
Beaches remain closed from Jupiter to Lake Worth
Beaches remain closed from Jupiter to Lake Worth
Beaches remain closed from Jupiter to Lake Worth

UPDATE: All Palm Beach County beaches from Lake Worth Beach north to the Martin County line will remain closed on Wednesday. Lifeguards and staff at Palm Beach County beaches reported continued irritation, according to Palm Beach County Public Affairs Department.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

All Palm Beach County beaches are expected to open Wednesday. 

According to samples taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, showed the concentration of the Karenia Brevis organism, species that causes most red tides in Florida, is very low to medium. 

The result comes after a test was conducted at 11 sites from Palm Beach Inlet north to Jupiter Inlet.

All Palm Beach County beachgoers are advised to swim near guarded beaches and heed any warnings posted at county or city beaches.

The Florida Department of Health advises people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, to avoid red tide areas.

Dr. Joseph Giaimo, a pulmonologist with the Jupiter Medical Center, said the best way to feel better is to get out of the area. 

“Frequently, you won’t need to see your physician. If you have ongoing problems though you should see your doctor and certainly get taken care of with that,” he said. 

The coughing, sore throat and runny nose are only temporary. 

“No long-term proven toxicity or those kinds of things,” he said. 

For more information on Red Tide and conditions around the state, visit the FWC website

UPDATE:  According to samples taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission an organism that causes most red tides in Florida is at least present within the coastal waters of Palm Beach County, it was announced Monday afternoon.

Health officials say some people can experience coughing, sneezing, tearing and an itchy throat when the Florida red tide organism is present and winds blow onshore.

Anyone with asthma or emphysema or another respiratory condition should avoid areas near red tide.

Experts say red tides on the east coast of Florida are extremely rare. 

They've happened 57 times on Florida's west coast and eight made their way to the east coast, according to officials. All were carried by currents from the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.

It's unclear how high the concentration is.

 

EARLIER: 

 

Beaches from Martin County south to Lake Worth continue to be closed Monday after what is being described as an “unknown airborne irritant” caused people to become sick over the weekend.

Peanut Island swimming beach is also closed. Parking lots, picnic areas, and pavilions not on the beach will be open.

Riviera Beach also announced it is voluntarily shutting down municipal beaches as a precaution. Affected beaches are at Ocean Reef Park, Riviera Beach Municipal beaches and Phil Foster Park.

The city said although there is no definitive evidence that Riviera Beach waters have been affected, it wanted to err on the side of caution until complete testing is done.

As a precaution, no swimming is allowed Monday on Delray Beach for the possible irritant.

Beaches in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton are open Monday.

Beachgoers reported breathing problems in Jupiter, which prompted a response from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Others said they had trouble breathing, headaches and itchy eyes – symptoms consistent with red tide.

“I (was) coughing like crazy for 20 minutes and [my friends’s] eyes were burning. Well, neither one of us knew what was going on at that time,” said Jupiter resident Tom Thompson.

The Florida Department of Health on Sunday issued a health advisory for the next 48 hours.

Persons with respiratory allergies are advised to avoid contact with the beaches.

The Health Department said in written statement that they received reports Saturday that a number of people on the county beaches were experiencing respiratory issues and eye irritation. 

Lake Worth beach and pier are closed until further notice. The lower parking lot here was open Monday morning and nearby businesses are still supposed to be open. However, cones and barricades are preventing people from driving up the street between the beach and the Lake Worth Casino building. 

Partners with Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management and other state and local agencies are investigating the potential causes of the irritation. Results will not be available for at least 48 hours and as a precaution, the Health Department is issuing the Health Advisory. 

Palm Beach County has made the decision to close county beaches until the cause is known.

Martin County Beaches

In Martin County, officials said Monday that all life guarded beaches were closed to swimming due to the  airborne irritant. Call the Martin County beach hotline at 772-320-3112 for the most up-to-date info.