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Florida Department of Health
August 2, 2020

Florida Department of Health

The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias Updates

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias. As the state continues to respond to both events, updates on the state’s actions will be issued as necessary.

Governor Ron DeSantis is in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the threat of COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias.

President Donald Trump approved Governor DeSantis’ request that he declare a pre-landfall emergency for the State of Florida in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaias for the following counties: Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia. A copy of the letter can be found here.

Today, Governor DeSantis provided two updates of the state’s response to Isaias at the State Emergency Operations Center. Governor DeSantis announced that Uber has activated free rides to shelters in counties responding to Tropical Storm Isaias. Individuals can use the code “IsaiasRelief” to receive up to $25 off up to three trips to or from state-approved shelters. He also announced that more than 11,400 power restoration personnel are pre-staged in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.

Governor DeSantis received briefings from the Florida Division of Emergency Management throughout the day.

Hurricane warnings are in effect from Boca Raton to the Volusia and Flagler County Line. The National Hurricane Center is predicting a storm surge of two to four feet from the Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach. Floridians in these areas should take necessary precautions and follow orders from local government officials.

Recent actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias:

  • The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is prepared to support any requests for assistance from health care facilities and special needs shelters due to Isaias.
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has sent PPE shelter kits with gloves, hand sanitizer and masks to sustain 10,000 people for 96 hours to counties in Tropical Storm Isaias’ path.
  • The Division has pre-staged 1.8 million meals and 9.4 million water bottles for counties experiencing impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The Division is working with private-sector partners to monitor fuel activity. At this time, there are no reports of shortages.
  • FDEM has deployed staff to county Emergency Operations Centers in the storm’s path to assist with local response efforts.
  • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is closely monitoring field offices that may be potentially impacted by the storm and has distributed guidance and communication to staff in the event of office closures.
  • The Agency made outreach calls to critical health care facilities along the eastern seaboard that are in a surge zone for the storm’s path. All nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a generator on-site.
  • The Agency is ensuring health care facilities in the storm’s projected path are updating the Emergency Status System and providing notification of any plans to evacuate.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently monitoring Isaias and any evacuation orders and shelter openings along Florida’s East coast.
  • DEO is preparing to deploy potential disaster resources as needed in response to Tropical Storm Isaias’s impacts. This includes the Business Damage Assessment Survey, Emergency Bridge Loan and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • DEO is also coordinating with state and local partners to determine proactive action, updates or unmet needs from the private sector.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) closed 22 State Parks for day use and eight campgrounds with overnight accommodations are currently closed in response to Tropical Storm Isaias. Florida State Park closures can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
  • DEP has completed pre-storm beach surveys.
  • Pre-storm prep guidance has been distributed to all hazardous waste, drinking water and wastewater facilities.
  • DEP has issued Emergency Orders which authorize repairs, replacement, restoration, and certain other measures made necessary by Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • DEP is coordinating HART team resources for deployment in impacted areas if needed.
  • Dam Safety Alerts have been sent out to 60 dam owners.
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues to closely monitor Isaias and stands ready to assist.
  • FHP is in communication with law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any local needs before, during and after the storm.
  • FHP has Quick Response Force Troopers strategically located across the state and available if needed.
  • FHP continues to urge motorists to use extreme caution if driving during storm conditions.
  • All Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities and centers are on alert, monitoring weather advisories and have completed pre-storm preparations for Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The Florida Department of Management Services’ (DMS) State Purchasing team continues to lead Emergency Support Function (ESF) 7, providing critical procurement and consultation support during the emergency.
  • The DMS Telecommunications team continues to lead ESF 2, providing critical telephonic communication and direct connectivity support during the emergency.
  • The DMS Real Estate Development and Management team continues to work with facility managers in potential areas of impact for coordinating state building closures.
  • DMS continues to encourage state employees in potential areas of impact to make plans, prepare kits, and stay informed.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) worked with AHCA to issue new telemedicine guidance for Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting (iBudget) Waiver adult day training (ADT) providers.
  • The Florida National Guard (FLNG) is continues to monitor Isaias and is prepared to mobilize support as state response efforts continue.
  • Approximately 1,467 Florida National Guardsmen are mobilized to support Florida’s response to COVID-19.
  • FLNG has expanded its support to mobile testing teams and the community-based and walk-up test sites. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 999,000 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Through Executive Order 20-181, Governor DeSantis authorized the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend the size and weight restrictions for vehicles transporting emergency equipment, including fuel, to disaster impacted areas of our state quickly and efficiently.
  • FDOT is currently monitoring Isaias and will shore up construction sites and monitor drainage in and around the state’s roadways to help ensure the safety of the traveling public.
  • As Tropical Storm Isaias approaches Florida’s coast, Volunteer Florida is working with partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to prepare resources and potential response efforts, including shelter operations. The agency is also preparing to assist with coordinating volunteer opportunities through Volunteer Connect, Florida’s official volunteer opportunities platform.

Additional actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19:

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is prepared to support any requests for assistance from health care facilities and special needs shelters due to Isaias.
  • This week, the FDOH has updated the Florida COVID-19 Response page to include a map with state-supported and county health department supported COVID-19 Testing Location Sites. This map will be updated once a week.
  • DOH issued a revised Public Health Advisory recommending the following:
    • All individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.
    • All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 10 people.
    • All individuals over the age of 65 and all individuals of any age with high-risk health conditions should limit personal interactions outside of the home.
  • DOH has posted a list of Agency for Persons with Disabilities Licensed Group Homes with positive COVID-19 cases. This report will be updated weekly and is available here.
  • DOH reminded all Floridians to protect the vulnerable by avoiding the Three Cs: Closed Spaces, Crowded Places and Close-Contact Settings and by wearing a mask in public:
    • Closed Spaces. Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation that could allow contagious droplets to linger in the air.
    • Crowded Places. Avoid crowded places with many people nearby; the greater the number of individuals in an area, the greater the chances of COVID-19 spreading from person-to-person.
    • Close-Contact Settings. Avoid close-range conversations and stay at least six-feet from others.
  • All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • To date, DOH has reported more than 1,600 contact tracers who are assisting with COVID-19 efforts across the state.
  • DOH announced that the list of long-term care facilities in Florida associated with COVID-19 cases will now include active cases in each facility in order to provide real-time data. The list of long-term care facilities with active COVID-19 cases is available here.
  • DOH is providing a report detailing surveillance data for every Florida county. Previously, this information was only available for select communities. The surveillance data report is available here.
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida.
  • DOH established a public call center for questions regarding COVID-19. The call center launched Monday, March 2, and is open 24/7.
  • In an effort to increase testing, Governor DeSantis has directed Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees on an emergency temporary basis to allow licensed pharmacists in Florida to order and administer COVID-19 tests.
  • DOH is working with Florida’s Board of Pharmacy and Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation on mobile pharmacy compliance guidance.
  • More information on DOH’s COVID-19 response is available here.

FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

  • The State Emergency Operations Center continues to be activated at a Level 1 as the State Emergency Response Team responds to Tropical Storm Isaias and COVID-19.
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has sent PPE shelter kits with gloves, hand sanitizer and masks to sustain 10,000 people for 96 hours to counties in Tropical Storm Isaias’ path.
  • The Division has pre-staged 1.8 million meals and 9.4 million water bottles for counties experiencing impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The Division is working with private-sector partners to monitor fuel activity. At this time, there are no reports of shortages.
  • FDEM has deployed staff to county Emergency Operations Centers in the storm’s path to assist with local response efforts.
  • In anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, FDEM has closed state-supported testing sites in the following counties until Wednesday, August 4: Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Lake, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Orange, Palm Beach, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia. Updates on the status of the state-supported testing sites will be provided via social media on the Division’s Twitter and Facebook.
  • The Division is hosting twice daily calls with County Emergency Management Directors to deliver updates regarding Tropical Storm Isaias and provide assistance to County’s as they prepare to respond to the storm.
  • FDEM has created a PPE reserve for hurricane season. Currently, the Division has:
    • 20 million masks
    • 22 million gloves
    • 10 million gowns
    • 1.6 million face shields
    • 270,000 coveralls
    • 20,000 thermometers
  • FDEM expanded separate, observed self-swab lanes to symptomatic individuals to 15 state-supported drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. More information is available here.
  • Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the Division continues to deploy additional staff to hospitals responding to COVID-19 across the state. To date, 2,101 nurses have been deployed to support hospitals statewide.
  • To date, the Division has sent the following PPE to support health care workers and first responders:
    • More than 52 million masks
    • More than 15.2 million gloves
    • Nearly 2 million face shields
    • More than 1.1 million shoe covers
    • More than 4.8 million gowns
    • More than 106 thousand goggles
    • More than 71 thousand coveralls
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, the state currently supports 60 COVID-19 testing sites across the state, with the capacity to conduct up to 35,900 tests per day. The state continues to expand testing capacity, in addition to supporting county-run testing efforts, to ensure all Floridians can receive a COVID-19 test. A list of state-supported testing sites can be found here.
  • Five state-supported drive-thru testing sites located in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Orange and Duval counties are offering free antibody testing to anyone over the age of 18. The sites offering antibody tests are available here.
  • Find more information on DEM’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is closely monitoring field offices that may be potentially impacted by the storm and has distributed guidance and communication to staff in the event of office closures.
  • The Agency made outreach calls to critical health care facilities along the eastern seaboard that are in a surge zone for the storm’s path. All nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a generator on-site.
  • The Agency is ensuring health care facilities in the storm’s projected path are updating the Emergency Status System and providing notification of any plans to evacuate.
  • AHCA has made more than 4,300 onsite visits to facilities and more than 43,400 telephone calls to residential providers statewide to provide support and determine emergent needs of facilities.
  • This week, AHCA held a call with the Florida Health Care Association and partner long-term care facilities to discuss the Agency’s continued response to COVID-19.
  • AHCA convened a call with all 22 of the AHCA Dedication Isolation Facilities to discuss continued collaboration with hospitals across our state to serve COVID-19 positive patients who need an appropriate discharge setting from hospitals.
  • AHCA added an additional tab to the Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard to reflect hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • On June 16, AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-4 and Emergency Rule 59AER20-5. These rules require nursing home and assisted living facility staff to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks with testing resources provided by the state and to submit test results to their employer/facility.
  • AHCA issued Emergency Order NO. 20-003 providing financial relief to nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities during the state’s public health emergency. The emergency order extends the deadlines for March and April 2020 Quality Assessment payments until June 15, 2020 for Intermediate Care Facilities, and June 20, 2020 for nursing homes.
  • AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-2 and Emergency Rule 59AER20-3. These rules require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to grant access to the Florida Department of Health or their authorized representative for the purpose infection prevention and control, including mandated COVID-19 testing of both on-duty and off-duty staff when arranged by the Department.
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-1 requiring hospitals to test all patients for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, prior to discharge to long-term care facilities.
  • AHCA sent out an email to nursing homes requiring the transfer of residents with verified or suspected cases if they cannot be appropriately isolated and adhere to the CDC recommendations for COVID-19 response.
  • AHCA issued a provider alert announcing additional flexibilities within the Medicaid program made at the direction of Governor DeSantis. Authorization requirements and services limits for medically necessary behavioral health care for are now waived.
  • AHCA created a new temporary Personal Care Attendant program to help long-term care facilities fill staffing shortages. The program provides an 8-hour training on assisting with direct care so that personal care attendants can temporarily perform additional duties.
  • AHCA has been working with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to ensure current Medicaid recipients maintain benefits during the state of emergency. Medicaid application deadlines have also been extended.
  • Find more information on AHCA’s response to COVID-19 here.

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