Official emphasizes need for flu shot

  • Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, director of the Florida Department of Health-Nassau, attends the Sept. 29 meeting of the Nassau Board of County Commissioners via Zoom .
    Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, director of the Florida Department of Health-Nassau, attends the Sept. 29 meeting of the Nassau Board of County Commissioners via Zoom .

Gary D. Morgan


Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, Nassau County Department of Health director, says it is especially important this year for everyone to get a flu shot. 

The public health advice was part of Ngo-Seidel’s regular update to the Nassau Board of County Commissioners Sept. 30 on the local statistics related to the Coronavirus pandemic, including the officially reported SARS-CoV-2 test results and cases of COVID-19, in Nassau County.

She reported that as of Sept. 29, a total of 2,116 confirmed cases of infection occurred in Nassau County. Of those, 1,972 were residents. 

“As of the same period, public health has released 1,751 for an estimate of 221 current active cases and their quarantine contacts. For the week of Sept. 20, our positivity rate has decreased to 4.96 (percent of test results reported).

“Since the last period that I gave this report, there have been six additional residents hospitalized and four additional deaths. Currently there are two hospitalized patients in Baptist Nassau and at least one in Jacksonville.

“Our year-to-date pediatric caseload has been 165 and their positivity rate – this age group, less than 18 (years old) – is 9 percent of those that have been tested,” Ngo-Seidel said. “So again, our key message is to reduce the spread of illness, including flu, and it is very important to get your flu vaccine as we talked about last week. The flu vaccine can protect you from getting the flu or making the illness less severe. Getting the flu shot now is especially important because it will give you the opportunity to get your immunity up before the time that flu really starts to circulate. To prevent both flu and COVID, we encourage everyone to stay home if they are sick, cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands, wear a mask and physically distance.”

Nassau County Emergency Management Director Greg Foster spoke next. 

“As Dr. Seidel said, our positivity rate continues to fall. We continue to monitor that and continue to push out information to the general public to keep them focused on being careful, paying attention to what is going on and taking the steps necessary for them to be able to protect themselves. In reference to (personal protection equipment), we have gotten ourselves to a point where we feel confident that we have enough PPE to keep us going for multiple months barring some massive situation coming up. ... A large hurricane would obviously deplete our PPE resources. We continue to be in touch with the state to make sure that there is PPE available. If we are affected by a hurricane, they do have stocks ready for us and we know how to order those and get those in, if necessary.

“We continue to work with the Department of Health on messaging, making sure that the correct message gets out there in support of the CDC and the FDOH,” Foster said.

Under new business, the BOCC unanimously approved a resolution extending
the county’s current state of emergency “due to COVID-19.” The county first declared the local state of emergency March 18. State law requires resolution extension every seven days “while the emergency still exists.”

The BOCC also unanimously approved Leeper signing an amendment to the “CARES Act Funding Agreement with Florida Department of Emergency Management” referring to a “20 percent Allocation Spending Plan.” 

David Jahosky, managing director of Government Services Group, which has a contract with the county to help manage the CARES Act program, spoke to the commissioners via videoconferencing. 

He said Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Sept. 18 a plan for the second disbursement of CARES Act funding. The approximate amount was 20 percent of the total award. For the county, this adds up to $3,092,876.  

According to Jahosky, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management said no additional funds would be fronted to the county and expenditures beyond 45 percent would be by reimbursement. A grant manager will be assigned to work on processing expenditures and disbursements. 

The county has submitted its report for the first allocation of 25 percent and now must submit a report for how it will spend the second allocation of 20 percent. Once the report is signed, submitted and approved by FDEM, the county will receive $3,092,876.

FDEM also expects a final report from the county on how the remaining 55 percent of the CARES Act funds will be utilized. Jahosky broke down the allocation as follows: “$304,000 for payroll expenses for public health and public safety employees, $260,000 for public health expenses, $348,000 for economic support and $740,000 in the small business assistance program – which is still being processed, $240,000 for additional PPE, $482,000 for housing support and $718,000 for food programs.”