Palm Beach County officials say they were surprised Saturday by a national news story that flagged a rise in coronavirus infections here.
The Yahoo News report cited a federal document that contradicts Florida data. The story says the government piece cites Palm Beach County as one of three “emerging” COVID-19 hot spots around the country.
According to the story, the document was circulated Friday by the Department of Homeland Security and used data that was collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on May 12, the day after Palm Beach County reopened many businesses. “Palm Beach County, FL reported a 71% increase in new cases the last 7 days compared to the previous 7 days,” the document notes.
“That state data and the federal data cited by Yahoo raise concerns about Palm Beach County’s push to reopen quickly. The Sun Sentinel examined the data and found that Palm Beach County reopened even though infection rates were not decreasing.” https://t.co/ExTudB57H6
— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) May 17, 2020
Meanwhile, state data show a 20.7 percent increase in cases in the county during the week preceding May 12. The week before that, from April 28 to May 5, Palm Beach County saw a 17.8 percent rise in its cases.
The two data reports have raised concerns about the county’s push to reopen. The Sun Sentinel examined the data and concluded that Palm Beach County reopened on May 11 even though its infections were not decreasing, a factor which was included in the state and federal guidelines for reopening.
County officials say they have read the Yahoo News article, which cites the county along with San Bernardino County, Calif., and Marshall County, Ala. However, they reportedly have not seen the document cited by Yahoo News, and were not contacted by Yahoo News before publication, according to county spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda.