By Steve Plunkett
The number of COVID-19 cases in South County cities and towns is up by more than five times the total reported two months ago, state health figures show.
On June 4, when Boynton Beach (669 cases) overtook Boca Raton (660 cases) as the most infected South County municipality, they and other coastal towns posted 1,922 coronavirus reports.
On Aug. 5 Boca Raton had easily retaken the lead with 4,807 cases, a 628% increase, while Boynton Beach had 3,154 cases, up 371%.
Also on Aug. 5 Highland Beach posted its first case, losing its distinction as the only coastal municipality from Boca Raton to South Palm Beach to be COVID-19-free. The next day it added three more cases.
“We have mostly older residents and they’re being more cautious,” Highland Beach Mayor Doug Hillman said.
In all, the pandemic in South County grew from the 1,922 coronavirus cases on June 4 to 10,802 cases on Aug. 5. Delray Beach went from 518 cases to 2,418 in that time, a 367% increase, and Lantana’s cases grew from 66 to 375, up 468%.
Among smaller towns, South Palm Beach went from 1 case to 4, Hypoluxo from 7 to 27, and Ocean Ridge from 1 to 9. Towns that had no cases on June 4 but have since shown up on the daily counts are Briny Breezes (1), Gulf Stream (4) and Manalapan (2).
Meanwhile the total caseload for Palm Beach County rose from 6,688 cases on June 4 to 35,737 cases on Aug. 5, an increase of 434%. Boca Raton has the third highest concentration of cases, behind West Palm Beach (8,945) and Lake Worth/Lake Worth Beach (6,328).
The county-wide coronavirus positivity rate is 13.2 percent. More than 277,000 county residents have be tested so far, with a cumulative 36,600 having COVID-19, state figures show.
Rich Pollack contributed to this report.