JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry returned to City Hall Tuesday to give an update on the current COVID-19 situation after a 14-day self-quarantine period.
Curry announced last week that he and his family were in self-quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. He said both himself and his family have since tested negative for the virus.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Curry said 548 people are hospitalized and 113 are in ICU in relation to COVID-19 complications. He said that he’s spoken with every hospital to make sure that they have contingency plans in place if there is a rise in cases that threatens capacity and that they have the availability to increase bed space if needed.
Curry said that the people of Jacksonville must learn to live with the virus safely and responsibility until we have a vaccine. He said it's unrealistic to just postpone everything until a vaccine is developed, which could take months or even years.
"My heart goes out to those that have suffered from this terrible virus, their friends and loved ones." said Curry. "...We must get our kids and our teens back to a normal life."
That includes getting kids back to school.
The mayor said his own children are ready to be back in the classroom, and he trusts Duval County school leaders to safely and responsibly reopen.
Curry said students need access to school courses, sports and friends, because "a year is an eternity in their life and development."
"Watching my kids, their friends and many young people throughout the city struggle with the lockdown and the disruption to their daily lives has been particularly eye-opening," Curry said.
Curry said he understands the fear and anxiety teachers, students and parents may be feeling, but it's unrealistic to postpone things such as school until there is a vaccine.
He stated that he would be comfortable holding live news conferences moving forward if media outlets were interested in doing so as long as proper safety precautions were followed.
When asked about the rapid increase in COVID-19 fatality rates in Duval County, Curry said that the deaths were extremely unfortunate and that we can all do our part to reduce these instances by washing our hands, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.
Mayor Curry also answered some questions about the Republican National Convention. He said “fundraising is strong," but didn't specify how much has been donated for the event.
“I don’t know the exact dollars that were raised. It’s definitely in the tens of millions to put the event on. Raised by private organization dollars – not taxpayer dollars," Curry explained.