Florida Department of Health

08/01/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2020 19:31

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

Contact: Joint Information Center on COVID-19 for the State of Florida (850) 815-4940, [email protected]

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.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

  • DBPR issued Emergency Order 2020-09, effective June 26, 2020, that suspends the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises for all vendors licensed for such sale who derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises in accordance with Executive Order 20-71, Sections 1 and 2.
  • DBPR issued Emergency Order 2020-08 which extends the deadlines for examination eligibility and licensure eligibility through December 31, 2020, for professional licenses regulated pursuant to Chapter 455, Florida Statutes, and the related professional practice acts. The Order supersedes section 4 of DBPR Emergency Order 2020-03, which had previously extended these deadlines through May 31, 2020.
  • DPBR has distributed Additional Information for Barbershops and Cosmetology Salons Pursuant to Executive Order 20-120 and FAQs for Executive Order 20-120 - Expanding Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery to provide additional information and guidelines for barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons.
  • Find more information on DBPR's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • 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 DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida's Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which allowed the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to issue more than $662 million in benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures.
  • Per DCF's request, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Florida's waiver to permit the state to launch a pilot project that allows families to purchase groceries online with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card beginning April 21, 2020.
  • As part of her Hope for Healing Florida initiative, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that DCF will be receiving a $1.9 million emergency grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will provide crisis counseling and other mental health support for Floridians impacted by COVID-19.
  • DCF continues to work diligently with the Department of Health (DOH) to develop precautionary protocols for child welfare professionals and adult protective investigators who may have to make in-person visits to ensure the safety of those vulnerable populations.
  • Find more information on DCF's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) staff have begun working to make necessary preparations for inmates housed in facilities located in the path of Tropical Storm 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.
  • FDC has resumed modified volunteer activities at select institutions.
  • FDC has distributed cloth face coverings to all correctional officers and inmates at correctional institutions statewide.
  • FDC is closely aligned with the CDC Interim Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities.
  • New inmate commitments from county jails undergo additional screening and 14-day quarantine before placement within the general population.
  • FDC has suspended visitation at all correctional institutions statewide.
  • Find more information on FDC's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

  • 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.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis has directed 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.
  • DEO, in partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, launched a website to verify the identity of claimants who have been locked out of their CONNECT account, the online system for processing Reemployment Assistance claims. Individuals who were locked out of their CONNECT account have been notified and provided a direct link to verify their information so they can access their account.
  • DEO is administering the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The program is offered by the federal CARES Act and provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to a claimant who has exhausted Reemployment Assistance. For more information, please click here.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida's state Reemployment Assistance program is available. Eligibility includes independent contractors, gig workers and individuals who are self-employed. Working Floridians who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit org and select 'File a Claim' to apply and be considered for PUA. Individuals may also call 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759) for any questions they may have.
  • DEO continues to provide updates on the efforts made to address the challenges to Florida's Reemployment Assistance program in response to COVID-19. This includes the State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard that is updated daily to reflect the total number of Reemployment Assistance Claims submitted, verified, processed and paid.
  • DEO announced more than 1,000 small businesses have been awarded more than $49 million from the Florida Small Emergency Bridge Loan program.
  • The Business Damage Assessment survey is activated and continues to accept surveys to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations and determine the appropriate actions for recovery. Click here to access the survey.
  • Find more information on DEO's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • On Friday, the Florida Department of Education activated its storm response page at fldoe.org/em-response in anticipation of Tropical Storm 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.
  • On June 11, the Florida Department of Education announced the full-reopening of Florida's schools and CARES Act plan, visit here.
  • Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran issued Emergency Order 2020-06 - Further Guidance for Closing Achievement Gaps and Creating Safe Spaces for Learning that:
    • Ensures that Florida schools are open for in-person learning and in compliance with the many educationally important state and federal laws that ensure an equitable education for all types of learners, including our many at-risk students.
    • Gave districts and schools flexibility to craft their own locally conceived plans, a request from districts, charters and private schools.
    • Gave districts and schools guidance and flexibility on how to compassionately maintain education for medically vulnerable students and families.
    • Guided that state and federally required services for at-risk students must meet the same high bars of quality set forth in law.
    • Created additional pathways for districts and schools to comply with state laws that numerous districts, charter schools and private schools asked for guidance on.
    • Provided districts, charters, privates and the many professionals that run schools the financial certainty that they will be supported as they support our students.
  • In order to receive the flexibility and continuity provided for in Emergency Order 2020-06, school districts must submit a reopening plan for review and approval that satisfies the requirements of the order. These plans are due to the Department of Education by July 31, and approved plans will be posted at www.fldoe.org/em-response.
  • Hosted multiple webinars providing guidance to Florida school districts, charter schools, private schools, and education stakeholders on plans to re-open. The recordings of the webinars can be found here.
  • Find more information on DOE's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS

  • 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.
  • DOEA is providing an average of over 35,000 telephone reassurance calls to older adults throughout the state each month.
  • Pursuant to Executive Order 20-52 issued by Governor DeSantis, the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) issued Emergency Order 20-01 on March 31 pertaining to in-person guardian visitation requirements where COVID-19 response and mitigation measures prevent such visits.
  • DOEA issued Guidance in furtherance of Order 20-01 on March 31 for Public and Professional Guardians to remain in compliance with Florida Statute 744.361(14).
  • DOEA has created a dedicated webpage to provide resources on COVID-19 including: tips for caregivers, information on closures of senior centers and adult day care centers, and alternative services for congregate meal sites.
  • Find more information on DOEA's COVID-19 response here.

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA

  • Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) recently launched a Virtual Trade Shows Grant Program to allow companies to identify international clients and generate new export opportunities. Traditional international trade shows are being temporarily replaced by virtual events to promote safe worldwide business opportunities. For more information, please contact one of EFI's Regional Trade Managers.
  • EFI created a virtual trade grant program to help Florida companies do business overseas as international travel is restricted. Businesses interested in learning more about the new Virtual Business Matchmaking service should contact one of EFI's Regional Trade Managers. EFI recently expanded this program to engage Canada and Mexico.
  • EFI conducted regional calls with stakeholders across the state to identify ideas for long-range economic recovery.
  • EFI suspended initial fees for its Microfinance Loan Guarantee Program to support Florida's small business community impacted by COVID-19. Interested businesses must apply through a local lender. For further information please contact your lender or visit Enterprise Florida's website.
  • See resources compiled by EFI for businesses impacted by COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • 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.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to implement their phased reopening of the Florida State Parks. As these parks are reopening, DEP is taking measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During this phase of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.
  • Areas of Florida State Parks managed by the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (ORCP) have been partially reopened, including remote access trails, beaches, and boat ramps at the Research Reserves. Islands, beaches, and submerged lands within the Aquatic Preserves are being reopened in accordance with local ordinances. See current information on ORCP-managed lands here.
  • Find more information on DEP's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

  • 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.
  • Since March 1, 2020, Floridians have conducted over 2 million motor vehicle and credential transactions virtually through the department's online services webpage: com. FLHSMV encourages Floridians who can, to complete their driver license or motor vehicle transactions online, rather than in person at a driver license office.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol is assisting with the implementation and enforcement of Executive Order 20-86 at the direction of Governor DeSantis.
  • Pursuant to Executive Order 20-52 issued by Governor DeSantis, FLHSMV Executive Director Rhodes has waived commercial truck hours of service regulations and other related regulations so that emergency supplies, equipment, commodities and resources can be moved more quickly and efficiently throughout the state.
  • Find more information on FLHSMV's COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-07M providing guidance to insurers on hurricane season preparedness and response. Insurers are advised to review and consider operational guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and encouraged to leverage technology to protect and best serve policyholders.
  • As part of its ongoing effort to keep policyholders informed, the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) published a list of resources to connect Florida policyholders with assistance being offered by insurers in response to COVID-19.
  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-06M providing guidance on the use of technology to help combat the spread of COVID-19, including encouraging insurers to broaden access to care for telehealth services, and requesting Pharmacy Benefit Managers to transition to an electronic audit process in order to avoid unnecessary risk and maintain social distancing.
  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-05M reminding insurers of applicable statutes regarding workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurers are expected to comply with all of the provisions of Florida's Workers' Compensation Law.
  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-03M directing all insurers and other entities regulated by OIR to review and update their business continuity and/or continuity of operations plans. Companies are directed to immediately contact OIR if their continuity plans are activated and/or if business operations become compromised so it can work with insurers to avoid any disruption in consumer services.
  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-04M providing general guidance on the treatment of policyholders as part of the state's ongoing efforts to protect Floridians.
  • OIR issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-02M as a reminder to all health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other health entities to allow for early prescription refills.
  • Find more information on OIR's COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • 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.
  • DJJ is resuming limited family visitation to facilities who have no active COVID-19 cases. Programs with COVID-19 cases remain under visitation restriction.
  • DJJ has instituted additional screening measures for essential personnel and vendors within juvenile facilities.
  • Find more information on DJJ's COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has established the Emergency Support Function 16 operation to support the COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias response. FDLE is monitoring the storm and is ready to respond.
  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is working with DBPR and providing guidance for enforcing the closure of bars and 50 percent seating capacity limit for entertainment businesses.
  • FDLE continues to work with the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association to monitor law enforcement staffing impacts and staffing needs due to COVID-19.
  • Find more information on FDLE's COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA LOTTERY

  • Effective March 23, Florida Lottery Headquarters and district offices are closed to the public until further notice.
  • Find more information on the Florida Lottery's COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • 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.
  • DMS launched a dedicated telework pagewith resources and tutorials for employees and employers operating in a remote work environment.
  • At the Governor's direction, DMS Secretary Jonathan Satter issued an emergency order to ensure federal benefits granted through The Families First Coronavirus Response Act are available to employees.
  • As directed in Executive Order 20-52, DMS has amended the state employee health plan benefits plan documents to expand covered telehealth benefits at no additional employee cost.
  • Also directed in Executive Order 20-52, DMS has amended the state employee health plan benefits plan documents to cover immunizations at participating in-network retail pharmacies at no cost to the member during this public health emergency.
  • Find more information on DMS' COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

  • 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.
  • FLNG continues to support the state's COVID-19 response through augmentation to airport screening measures, statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets.
  • Find more information on DMA's response to COVID-19 here.

AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • APD is now providing group-home specific COVID-19 test data to the Florida Department of Health as part of its weekly COVID-19 statewide update. This is in addition to the existing COVID-19 report published on APD's website.
  • APD received eight pallets of cloth masks from the State Emergency Operations Center and will be distributing the masks to APD customers in supported living, group home residents and employees and to other providers to protect APD customers.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) sent out a Guidance Booklet to Providers and Waiver Support Coordinators recently to outline waiver changes and flexibilities as a result of COVID-19. It also included information on infection control measures and recommended actions when faced with various scenarios.
  • APD issued Emergency Order 20-03, which temporarily suspends face to face visits to administer the Questionnaire for Situational Information to determine the level of need of APD customers.
  • Find more information on APD's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • The Department of Revenue (DOR) has expanded its capacity for responding to child support customers who choose to handle their cases by email. The Department has also added a direct link to the email form for ease of access: floridarevenue.com/AskChildSupport. In addition to email, child support customers can contact the Child Support Program by webchat, fax, phone, or online using eServices.
  • DOR has issued an emergency order extending certain corporate income tax (CIT) due dates. For corporations with a fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2019, the due date for Florida CIT payments is extended to June 1, 2020. For corporations with fiscal years ending Dec. 31, 2019, Jan. 31, 2020, or Feb. 29, 2020, the due date for Florida CIT returns is extended to August 3, 2020. The due dates for Florida CIT payments for corporations with fiscal years ending Jan. 31 or Feb. 29, 2020, remain June 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020, respectively.
  • DOR has created a dedicated webpage for child support customers who have questions about the child support offset for Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. Under federal law, these payments are subject to federal offset for persons who owe past-due support.
  • DOR has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for tax-related questions and information.
  • The department also has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for child support customers and alternative options for handling many child support case activities without visiting an office.
  • Find more information on DOR's response to COVID-19 here.

CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA

  • The CareerSource Florida network has continued to provide employment and business services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now offers in-person assistance by appointment as well as a full range of career and business services virtually.
  • Free online career training and scholarships for training programs are available for Floridians interested in sharpening their skills or starting a new career. Please find your local team by visiting careersourceflorida.com/career-services/ or for a list of Florida's local workforce development boards and their contact information, please click here.
  • The state workforce board and all 24 local workforce development boards are assisting with CONNECT PIN resets and processing Reemployment Assistance applications.
  • CareerSource Florida has launched an integrated public and business outreach campaign, Help is Here, a comprehensive resource for employment and business services.

STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF FLORIDA

  • The State University System has directed all 12 state universities to develop alternate plans for summer commencement ceremonies, which include any rescheduled spring commencement plans that may have been postponed to summer.
  • The State University System Task Force has issued guidelines for reopening university campuses in the fall. Universities will present their individual plans based on these guidelines to the Board of Governors on June 23, 2020.
  • Find more information on SUS' response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

  • Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-97, delaying elections in Pasco County at the request of Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.
  • Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced the issuance of an emergency order and emergency rules to extend annual report filing deadlines for business entities, as well as outline changes to the candidate petition and candidate qualifying processes.
  • Find more information on the Florida Department of State's Response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • 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.
  • In accordance with Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis' Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery, FDOT deactivated the checkpoint for screening travelers seeking to enter Florida on I-10 at the Florida/Alabama state line. Upon deactivation, nearly 28,000 traveler forms had been collected at the I-10 checkpoint.
  • FDOT deactivated the checkpoint for screening travelers seeking to enter Florida on I-95 at the Florida/Georgia state line. Upon deactivation, more than 48,000 traveler forms had been collected at the I-95 checkpoint.
  • Governor DeSantis and FDOT Secretary Thibault announced the opening of five new Interstate 4 (I-4)/State Road (S.R.) 408 flyover ramps. This work was completed more than three months ahead of schedule and increases safety and mobility in the heart of Florida.
  • Due to continued lower traffic volumes as a result of COVID-19, FDOT expedited more than 40 additional critical transportation projects by at least 650 total contract days, while also providing essential jobs to Floridians. Find more information about FDOT's accelerated projects here.
  • FDOT Secretary Thibault and staff joined the Florida Trucking Association and the Florida Highway Patrol to hand out 500 meals to Florida's truck drivers.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with seaports across the state to monitor port activity.
  • Find more information on FDOT's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS

  • For 24-hour counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Veterans in Florida may also call the Florida Veterans Support Lineat 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) or 2-1-1.
  • To contact a teleworking FDVA Veterans' Claims Examiner, call (727) 319-7440 or email [email protected]
  • Veterans who are concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19, flu or cold should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center toll free at (877) 741-3400 before coming to a VA facility. Clinicians are available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.
  • The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs (FDVA) has restricted visitor access to its state veterans' homes until further notice, with the exception of essential visitors. In addition, admissions in our network of state veterans' homes are temporarily suspended.
  • Find more information on FDVA's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

  • 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.
  • FWC continues to be in close communication with the Governor's Office, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the most recent COVID-19 status and guidance.
  • Find more information on FWC's response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION

  • The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) is administering $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
  • Florida Housing issued an Emergency Rule to property owners and managers to suspend rent increases during this public health emergency on properties funded by Florida Housing. Those who choose to implement rent increases that impact residents during this global pandemic could result in consequences for future funding opportunities with Florida Housing.
  • As Florida Housing continues to be committed to the health and well-being of all Floridians, we have compiled a list of resources with relevant information for homeowners, residents, developers, apartment owners, management companies, participating lenders, Realtors and SHIP administrators regarding COVID-19.
  • Find more information on Florida Housing's response to COVID-19 here.

VISIT FLORIDA

  • 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.
  • Find more information on VISIT FLORIDA's response to COVID-19 here.

VOLUNTEER FLORIDA

  • 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.
  • As the lead agency for volunteerism and service, Volunteer Florida is working to support voluntary organizations across the state and nation by sharing resources, surveying needs and requesting that continuity of operations plans be created to avoid any service delivery disruption.
  • Find more information on Volunteer Florida's response to COVID-19 here.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLDEM/bulletins/298641b

More Information on COVID-19

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health's dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please visit the CDC COVID-19 website, this website is also available in Spanish and Creole. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, please visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department's dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to [email protected].

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.