Walton County officials discuss positive COVID-19 case and closing the beaches

Health

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB)–On Wednesday, Walton County officials confirmed there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the county.

The patient is a non-Florida resident who tested positive in Walton County.

“We do follow the HIPAA guidelines with confidentiality and things like that so as far as any other information, I cannot give you that today,” said Holly Holt with the Walton County Department of Health.

The Department of Health said they have begun a contact investigation, backtracking where the patient traveled in recent days.

The case has led residents to question how the county will be able to handle future cases, should they pop up. The DOH revealed that the county only has 28 ICU beds and 13 ventilators.

The discussion of the confirmed case and the state of the county striking concern in officials and residents.

“I’ve gotten 8 hours of sleep in the past 5 days because you’re sitting here thinking about it, worried about it, it affects so many people,” said Chairman Bill Chapman.

The confirmed case also lead to a lengthy discussion on whether or not the county should close their beaches.

Residents, business owners, and officials spoke out.

“I am torn to pieces over this. It is the worst, hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” said Tony Anderson, the Commissioner for District 5.

The county did not reach a final decision. They instead voted to have the County Attorney draft up a new emergency ordinance that outlines what rules they will follow if they decide to close the beaches.

The board will reconvene Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. to finalize their plans

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