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TEST-RESULT DELAYS — At right, members of The Beacon staff are tested for COVID-19 on July 13 at the Family Health Source site on the Volusia County Fairgrounds. None of the 11 staff members had his or her results as of July 29 — 16 days later. The delay in testing results — and an incubation period that also may average two weeks — means “current” data may not reflect current conditions, but rather, past trends. Family Health Source CEO Laurie Asbury said her agency, too, is frustrated by the delay in getting results from the labs processing tests.

Among West Volusia cities with confirmed COVID-19 cases, no others can compare to the consistent uptick of DeLand and Deltona: Together, they comprise 70 percent of all COVID-19 cases in West Volusia.

DeLand has averaged more than 20 new cases a day since June 18, two weeks after phase 2 reopening was implemented, and Deltona has averaged about 30 cases a day.

In less than two months (from June 5, the day of reopening, to July 28), the county has added 5,682 cases, an increase of 718 percent. In comparison, Deltona has seen more than a thousandfold percentage increase, from 107 cases to 1,250, and DeLand has seen an 1,645-percent increase, from a mere 60 cases to 1,047.

More than 70 percent of the new Volusia County cases have come in the past month in both cities.

Over the past six days, since DeLand recorded a single-day high of 59 cases July 21, the soaring in both cities has leveled off. Deltona’s highest daily new-case count came July 16, at 67 cases.

In the past week, DeLand has averaged 22.7 new cases a day and Deltona 24.5.

Worrisomely, Volusia County overall recorded its second-highest weekly deaths from July 21 to July 27, adding 17 new deaths for a total of 103.

As of July 29, deaths in the county totaled 107. Fifty-three of those have been cases in long-term care facilities.

The percent of deaths per positive cases locally is currently 1.6 percent.

Current hospitalizations (with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19) have averaged around 145 for the past seven days, with a daily high count of 164 on July 21.

Both the DeLand Police Department and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office report higher-than-average calls in July related to respiratory distress, which could be an indicator of COVID-19 infection.

According to City of DeLand spokesman Chris Graham, the Fire Department ran an analysis of respiratory distress calls compared to total calls, which indicated the average jumped from 9 percent to 15 percent in mid-July.

On his Facebook page, Sheriff Mike Chitwood reported July 15 that 78 calls the previous day had involved omeone with COVID-related symptoms, which he called a “new high.”

Mask ordinances and resolutions may have recently had a positive effect — the positivity rate in Volusia County has gone down significantly in the past week, from an average of around 12 percent to 8 percent in the past seven days.