ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — St. Lucie County is outpacing the state of Florida when it comes to the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths, officials said on Thursday.
According to health leaders, St. Lucie County has seen a 42% increase in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, and a 70% increase in deaths.
Compare that to the entire state of Florida, which has seen a 35% increase in cases and 46% increase in coronavirus-related deaths.
"Our numbers have gone up a lot," said Clint Sperber, the health director for St. Lucie County, at a news conference on Thursday afternoon.
Sperber said the county has seen 1,591 new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, which is about 113 cases per day.
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"We continue to see around the country places where they're going into other levels of shutdown because the cases have spiked so much," said Deputy County Administrator Mark Satterlee. "We really don't want to get there in St. Lucie County, so we're really just politely asking everybody, be apart of the community, help stop the spread."
Satterlee urged residents to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing in public, stay out of large groups, and wash your hands frequently.
An emergency face mask mandate remains in effect in St. Lucie County, which requires people to wear face coverings inside all public buildings, businesses, and establishments, as well as outdoors when social distancing cannot be practiced.
In addition, masks must be worn by customers who are dining inside and outside of restaurants, except when they are "actively consuming food and beverages."
The mask mandate does not apply to children who are under two years old, along with people with severe medical conditions or disabilities who cannot wear a mask.
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According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 5,514 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Lucie County, including 148 deaths.