Polk County (Florida) Democratic Party Calls for a Countywide Mask Mandate
On Monday, July 13th, the Polk County Democratic Party passed a resolution in support of a mandatory mask ordinance for Polk County Florida.
(Click here to view PDF of the Proclaimation.)
On Tuesday, July 7th, the Polk County Commission passed a resolution encouraging people to wear masks in public but stopped short of a mask mandate. The Polk County Democratic Party calls on the Polk County Commission to “get off the fence,” assume leadership in this crisis and pass a countywide mask mandate using Hillsborough County’s mask ordinance as a template. Kathie Sutherland, Polk County DEC Chair and retired physician said, “We must protect our people, healthcare workers and business by passing a mask mandate for Polk County. This is crucial for the welfare of our community.”
Background: During the Polk County Commission Agenda Review Meeting on Monday, July 6th, Dr. Joy Jackson, Director of the Polk County (Florida) Health Department, reported that over 5,200 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Polk County and half of these cases had been identified in the preceding two weeks. As of today, July 17th, 8,841 cases have been reported in Polk County, an increase of 70% in less than two weeks. Dr. Jackson noted that COVID-19 is “widespread across the County.” Hospitalizations, ICU stays and ventilator use for COVID-19 are rapidly increasing. Testing statewide is lagging with the last reported day being July 11, 2020. Statewide positivity tests are running at 15.5%. Availability of ICU beds in Polk County are hovering around 6% (10 beds) countywide.
Use of masks, social distancing and proper handwashing are the best ways to reduce exposure to the virus. Orange, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Osceola, Pasco and Sarasota Counties have all passed mask mandate ordinances to slow the spread of the virus. The time is now for Polk County to join in this effort.
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