Hurricane

TALLAHASSEE –  The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19 and Hurricane 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 Hurricane Isaias.

Today, Governor DeSantis provided a briefing of the state’s response to Hurricane Isaias at the State Emergency Operations Center. Governor DeSantis received a briefing from the Florida Division of Emergency Management and issued Executive Order 20-181, declaring a state of emergency in counties along Florida’s East Coast, in anticipation of Hurricane Isaias.  

On Thursday, July 30, Governor DeSantis delivered an address regarding Isaias and COVID-19 and announced the One Goal One Florida initiative to unite Floridians and urge them to work together in the fight against COVID-19. The address is available here.

On Wednesday, July 29, Governor DeSantis hosted a roundtable discussion regarding education and COVID-19 to discuss the need to provide parents the choice to either send their children back to school or continue distance learning. The roundtable is available for viewing here.

On Tuesday, July 28, Governor DeSantis held a roundtable discussion regarding the state’s continued response to COVID-19 in at AdventHealth Orlando. The roundtable is available for viewing here

This week, Governor DeSantis also issued Executive Order 20-180 (Limited Extension of Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief) and Executive Order 20-179 (Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Local Government Public Meetings).

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

  • This week, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) 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.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center continues to be activated at a Level 1 as the State Emergency Response Team responds to Hurricane Isaias and COVID-19.
  • In anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Isaias, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (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 Hurricane 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 
  • The Division has prepared shelter PPE kits to distribute to shelters that may open in response to Hurricane Isaias. The kits contain hand sanitizer, masks and gloves, with equipment for kids, adults and shelter staff.  
  • 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 Agency for Health Care Administration (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.
  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) staff have begun working to make necessary preparations for inmates housed in facilities located in the path of Hurricane Isaias. Decisions to evacuate facilities will be made on a case-by-case basis and on what is in the best interest of the public, staff and inmate safety.
  • Offenders on community supervision will be given specific instructions from their probation officers in the event evacuations are deemed necessary or if their probation office closes during normal reporting hours.
  • In the event of an institution evacuation, announcements will be made upon completion. Inmate locations will be posted on the website approximately 24-hours after relocation, per standard protocol.
  • Individuals are encouraged to visit the FDC website or social media channels prior to contacting individual institutions. Frequent updates regarding visitation and office closures will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and www.dc.state.fl.us.
  • FDC has sourced the following to correctional institutions since the onset of the pandemic, and these numbers continue to grow: 
    • More than 250,000 N95 masks
    • More than 2.5 million surgical masks
    • More than 430,000 boxes of gloves
    • More than 5,000 pairs of eye protection
    • More than 50,000 gowns and coveralls
    • More than 800 hand sanitizer dispensers (for use by FDC staff)
    • More than 6,000 gallons of hand sanitizer (for use by FDC staff)
  • FDC is expanding COVID-19 testing at institutions when indicated by a positive case. More than 40,000 inmates have been tested. 
  •  Friday morning, the Florida Department of Children Families (DCF) held a series of briefings with agency leadership regarding Hurricane Isaias. The team discussed disaster plans, identified needs that could arise in the coming days and made it clear that the goal is to keep the workforce safe, while still maintaining high-quality service delivery for Florida’s children and families.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to continue waiving the work search, work registration and waiting week requirements for claimants through September 5, 2020.
  • To comply with federal law, effective May 10, 2020, claimants for all Reemployment Assistance programs, including state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits. In doing so, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that they are able and available for work should it be offered. For more information, click here. If claimants, currently receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits, no longer wish to receive benefits, they do not need to request their benefits, as payments will stop processing if weeks stop being claimed. 
  •  On Friday, the Florida Department of Education activated its hurricane response page at fldoe.org/em-response in anticipation of Hurricane Isaias. This page will share any campus and state office closures or updates regarding the storm. 
  •  The Florida Department of Education has activated its buddy system for staff to keep in contact with school districts, colleges and early learning coalitions to provide assistance with any issues they may be experiencing due to Hurricane Isaias. 
  •  As of July 31, the Florida Department of Education has approved 23 school district re-opening plans. 
  •  The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) has hosted conference calls with all 11 Area Agencies for Aging (AAA), and all Comprehensive Assessment & Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) supervisors to discuss plans for Hurricane Isaias. 
  •  DOEA Secretary Prudom spoke during a recent press conference at Elder Care Services in Tallahassee to highlight the restaurant meal initiative and discuss the mental health outreach flyer each Area Agency on Aging is distributing to clients.
  •  Since its inception, the DOEA Restaurant Meal Initiative has served over 1,500,000 meals in partnership with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association with delivery through the Department’s 11 Area Agencies on Aging. The program served over 86,000 meals last week alone.
  •  For the thirteenth straight week, Florida’s Aging Network has delivered at or above 200% more meals to older adults and disabled individuals than prior to COVID-19. 
  •  DOEA, in partnership with AARP, began sending 60,000 postcards with COVID-19 tips and resources to adults 60 and older to targeted state areas with the most vulnerable populations.
  •  Florida Highway Patrol is closely monitoring Hurricane Isaias and stands ready to assist. 
  • All Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities and centers are on alert, monitoring weather advisories and completing pre-storm preparations for Hurricane Isaias. 
  •  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has established the Emergency Support Function 16 operation to support the COVID-19 and Hurricane Isaias response. FDLE is monitoring the hurricane and is ready to respond. 
  • Approximately 1,480 Florida National Guardsmen (FLNG) 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 997,000 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) has activated its emergency response team in response to Hurricane Isaias. The team is meeting daily to monitor and prepare for the storm’s possible impacts. 
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is currently monitoring Hurricane 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.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner (FWC) has Special Operations Group (SOG) members on standby to move into Hurricane Isaias impacted areas and support Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams as needed. 
  • FWC SOG teams possess four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and shallow draft vessels that will increase recon and USAR capabilities in impacted areas. Due to the track of the storm, all other FWC sworn units will shelter-in-place and be ready to respond to assigned areas as weather conditions allow.  
  •  VISIT FLORIDA's three official Florida Welcome Centers, located at major access points into the state, transitioned into emergency information centers offering the latest details on Hurricane Isaias. The welcome centers are operating with sanitization and social distancing measures recommended by public health officials. Nearly a half-million face masks have been provided by DOH and FDEM and are being made available to visitors.
  • As Hurricane 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. 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

  • This week, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) 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 Hurricane Isaias and COVID-19.
  • In anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Isaias, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (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 Hurricane 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 
  • The Division has prepared shelter PPE kits to distribute to shelters that may open in response to Hurricane Isaias. The kits contain hand sanitizer, masks and gloves, with equipment for kids, adults and shelter staff.  
  • 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.

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