Volusia coronavirus update: Some beach parking opening, spike in cases blamed on prison

County to start providing almost daily updates

Volusia County beaches close to prevent spread of COVID-19

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County officials said Friday that they’re planning to open some beach parking starting this weekend, although the shores remain closed for everything but exercise.

The announcement came as the county saw a spike in coronavirus cases overnight, including eight new deaths.

All in all, there have been 427 COVID-19 patients in Volusia County since March, 70 hospitalizations and 15 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Patrica Boswell, administrator for the Department of Health in Volusia County, said 48 of those cases are connected to long-term care facilities, along with seven of the deaths.

“Over the past week there have been peaks of new cases, the majority of the new cases, on those days we’ve had the peaks, are related to the outbreak we’ve had at some facilities in Volusia County,” Boswell said. “As has been reported by the Department of Corrections, there’s a high number of cases at the Tomoka Correctional Institution.”

Information from the FDOC shows that as of Friday, 82 inmates and 10 staff members at Tomoka Correctional Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.

Volusia County leaders don’t know yet when local business will begin to reopen but County Manager George Recktenwald did announce one step in that direction.

“We’re developing a phased approach for the reopening of the beach. Starting tomorrow, Saturday, we’ve opened up additional parking on county-controlled right-of-ways near the beach. To improve accessibility for our disabled citizens, the approaches at 3rd Avenue in New Smyrna Beach, Dunlawton Boulevard in Daytona Beach Shores and Williams Avenue in Daytona Beach will be opened for ADA access only,” Recktenwald said.

County officials said only vehicles with current handicapped license plates or placards wil lbe allowed onto the beach at the three ramps. Vehicles will need to stay within 100 yards of the ramp and must be appropriately spaced out.

Off-beach parking lots and coastal parks remain closed.

From now on, Volusia County officials will provide updates every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 2 p.m. on Facebook.