Weather forecasters are predicting a rainy week, something the area hasn’t seen in a while and something that could help improve moderate drought conditions in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties. A tornado watch was in effect during the morning north of the area although the northern tip of St. Johns was included. Rain and winds are forecast for the day.
Coronavirus cases continued to grow over the weekend.
Putnam County saw numbers jump from 29 to 43, according to figures from the state Department of Health. Five cases were reported Saturday, all from Palatka. Ages ranged from a 12-year-old boy to a 71-year-old man. On Sunday the numbers posted went up another eight. Two were from Palatka. The other six were from East Palatka. The East Palatka group included a 33-year-old woman, three 10-year-old girls, an eight-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy.
Flagler County had its second death attributed to the coronavirus. No details on the death Sunday morning but the person had been in the ICU of AdventHealth Palm Coast hospital undergoing treatment. Flagler now has 45 cases with the median age 62.
St. Johns County also saw more cases with 173 confirmed reports. Median age there is 53.
Easter was quiet this year but churches found ways to celebrate and worship. Not doable were the familiar sunrise beach services that normally draw thousands, but people were posting gorgeous sunrise photos at the ocean and along the St. Johns River. Other churches such as Christ Independent Methodist in Palatka held a drive-in version and throughout the day people stopped by St. James United Methodist in Palatka to add flowers to the cross in the courtyard. At St. Anastasia Catholic Church in St. Augustine people hosted watch parties to see services together. St. Anastasia like many churches is seeing a drop in donations since churches are closed. However, they found out even banks are understanding during the coronavirus. The church wasn’t able make the April mortgage payment on their St. Enda of Aran Formation building. After negotiations, parishioners were informed BB&T Bank had agreed to defer payment for April and will evaluate payments each month. Length of the loan is extended without penalty.
A three-story home was destroyed by fire Saturday night at Flagler Beach. The residence at South Daytona Avenue and South 21st Street was occupied by a couple and child. No one was injured but the house burned rapidly and by a little after 9 p.m. about 75 percent of the house was destroyed. Firefighters then began focusing on protecting other structures by the burning building. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
St. Augustine City Commission met this morning to hear an update on the city’s coronavirus activities and modify the city’s events policies. They also adopted emergency meeting procedures as the city began using communications technology including video conferencing. That went into effect today and gave the public the opportunity to talk via the Zoom app and watch the meeting on CityStAugTV.com and on Government Comcast Channel 3.
Two health care workers who went into the Palatka Publix over the weekend want to say thank you to the woman who “treated us like human beings.” Whitney Morgan Dozois and Amy Kees Smith went into the store from work still wearing their hospital gear and masks. Some friends treated them like normal but others in the store stared “like we were aliens. … It was humbling when a lady took the time to buy two gift cards for us and treated us like human beings.” They were sharing the story on Facebook in the hopes of finding the woman. It’s not an easy time to be in the healthcare profession.