CORONAVIRUS: New COVID-19 deaths reported in Walton, Okaloosa counties
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Two additional COVID-19-related deaths, one in Okaloosa County and the other in Walton County, have been reported by state and local health officials, according to data released this week.
Thursday data from the Florida Department of Health for Okaloosa County listed a 33-year-old woman, who did not appear on the previous day’s report, as a COVID-19 death. The latest death brings the number of recorded COVID-19 deaths in Okaloosa County to six people.
Similarly, Thursday FDOH data for Walton County listed a 78-year-old male, who did not appear on Wednesday’s report, as a COVID-19 death. The latest death brought the number of recorded COVID-19 deaths in Walton County to seven people.
Data also show that all of Walton County’s COVID-19 deaths occurred at long-term care facilities, of which the state lists only one in Walton County, the Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in DeFuniak Springs.
Additional state data from Thursday show that 27 Chautauqua residents, and 30 staff members, have tested positive for the coronavirus, but the current status of those residents and staff members can’t be readily determined through available data.
Signature HealthCARE, the Kentucky-based company that operates Chautauqua, has acknowledged the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at the facility, and has said it has been taking steps to address the issues, including daily screening of patients and others at the facility.
According to the Florida Department of Health in Walton County, there have been 97 COVID-19 cases reported in Walton County since tabulation of those cases began earlier this year.
That number includes 63 cases in DeFuniak Springs, 12 in Santa Rosa Beach, four in Freeport, three in Miramar Beach and one in Laurel Hill-Paxton. Fourteen people from out of state who were tested in Walton County also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Thursday news release from the local health department.
Additionally, there have been 14 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Walton County, according to state data.
State data for Okaloosa County available through the Florida Department of Health as of Thursday afternoon showed that 176 residents and eight non-residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since tabulations began earlier this year.
State data also show that there have been 30 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Okaloosa County.
Both counties have recently begun offering free drive-through COVID-19 testing, drawing hundreds of people thus far.
Drive-through testing in Okaloosa County, conducted from 8 a.m. until 11a.m. or until supplies run out, is next scheduled for Tuesday at EMS Station 5, 5801 Monroe St. in Baker, and for Thursday at Northwest Florida State College, 1170 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fort Walton Beach.
The testing is available free to community members whether they are exhibiting symptoms or not, according to the health department.
In Walton County, free COVID-19 drive-through testing is next scheduled for Thursday at the Paxton branch of the health department, 21505 U.S. Highway 331 North in Laurel Hill.
Testing in Walton County is by appointment only; to arrange an appointment call (850) 401-6453.