Polk Commissioner Bill Braswell talks about face masks

Polk Commissioner Bill Braswell talks about face masks

Reading the emails and posts I receive from the citizens of Polk County I want to make sure there is clarity in where we stand on the issue of masks. As we stated in the proclamation this week we believe the CDC guidelines should be followed as best one can. This means social distancing, sanitation, and masks. We have not made masks a mandate for several reasons. One is we believe people will make the right decisions on this issue without government intervention. Second, we do not want to subject our police force to policing the mask issue and therefore infect our police force to the detriment of the community. Third, there are some people who have issues that prevent them from wearing masks. Fourth, there will be lawsuits. Fifth, this is a long term problem that we as a society need to adjust to. People will adjust as the infection rates go up and down. We don’t need the BOCC to meet every time we have an increase or decrease and adjust public policy. We need policy that endures. Dr Jackson believes we are in a 3 year cycle of corona virus.
To these points I will say this, if I had any underlying medical condition I would wear a N95 mask all the time along with a face shield. I would only go out in public when absolutely necessary. I would have groceries and store goods delivered, no shopping. I would have no social interaction except that which I could not avoid.
We have received plenty of email and phone calls on this matter. They are running about 50-50. My political opponent believes the pro-mandate side of the debate is a large majority. He is wrong. His belief is a very loud minority is more powerful than a silent majority, we will find out on Nov 3rd. His protest rally in Bartow this week was covered by his accomplices at the Ledger. Numerous photos of the rally were shown in an online article. There were 5 people there, thats it. What this tells me is what I already believe. People know gathering in groups is not smart and they avoided his bad idea.
When I post here I like to leave people with facts so they can make good decisions. As of 8am this morning Polk has 17%(268) of our hospital beds empty. We have 12%(22) empty ICU beds. There are 138 people hospitalized with corona in Polk County.
Averaged over the last 2 weeks the daily infection rates for Polk and surrounding counties is;
Hardee County. 26.49%…………………no mandate
Osceola County 22.0%…………mask mandate since April 13
Hillsborough County 20.26% …mask mandate since Jun 23
Polk County 20.12%………………………no mandate
Orange County 17.27%…………..mask mandate since Jun 18
Pasco County. 15.61%……………….mandate since Jun 23
Lake County 11.33%………………………no mandate
Highlands County 7.84%………………..no mandate