(update 5/19/2020 at 9:00 pm)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19. In an effort to keep Florida residents and visitors safe and aware regarding the status of the virus, the Florida Department of Health will continue to issue this update every day through Phase 1 of Florida’s reopening plan. Once the state moves into Phase 2, DOH will provide this update once per week. However, DOH will continue to update the COVID-19 dashboard and post the state report daily.
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.
Today, Governor DeSantis held a press conference in the Florida Cabinet Meeting room with Florida Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter and provided an update on Florida’s reemployment assistance program and the state’s COVID-19 testing efforts.
Governor DeSantis announced that to date, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has paid 97.6% of eligible applicants and distributed more than $2.65 billion in reemployment assistance for Floridians. DEO has paid out more in the last 10 weeks, than it has in the last five years combined.
The Governor’s presentation is available here.
The Governor also announced the state is opening five additional walk-up testing sites in Daytona Beach, North Lauderdale, Miramar, Opa-Locka and Sarasota. These sites will be able to test up to 200 individuals per day.
Recent actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19
- As part of her Hope for Healing Florida initiative, First Lady Casey DeSantis recently announced that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will be receiving a $1.9 million emergency grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which will provide crisis counseling and other mental health support for Floridians impacted by COVID-19.
- More than half of CareerSource Florida’s 24 local workforce development boards are now open by appointment to assist job seekers and businesses with employment needs, especially those dealing with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CareerSource Heartland, serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties, plans to open by appointment on May 26.
- Remaining boards will open by June 1, pending receipt of personal protective equipment and completion of safety protocol training to protect customers and employees.
- The CareerSource Florida network has continued to provide employment and business services virtually, via telephone, by email and by appointment in some locations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- By the numbers, from March 1-May 13:
- 315,976 job seekers served
- 14,124 job seekers placed in employment
- 19,125 businesses served
- 1,300 job seekers enrolled in training
- 51,000 new jobs posted
- By the numbers, from March 1-May 13:
- The state workforce board and all 24 local workforce development boards are providing paper Reemployment Assistance applications at career centers and printable applications on their websites as well as assisting with CONNECT PIN resets and processing PEGA applications.
- Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation (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.
- FDOT is leading the coordination of DOH and the Florida Highway Patrol to implement Executive Order 20-86. To date, more than 36,900 traveler forms have been collected at the I-10 and I-95 checkpoints.
- FDOT continues to coordinate with public use airports, DOH and law enforcement to implement Executive Order 20-80. To date, more than 37,400 traveler forms have been collected at public use airports across the state.
- Approximately 2,177 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 227,000 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
- On May 18, Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Halsey Beshears presented information on Governor DeSantis’s full phase one reopening plan to the Florida Chamber of Commerce during their local chamber webinar. Secretary Beshears addressed the reopening plan as it pertained to vacation rentals and restaurants.
- The Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ (DOEA) 11 Areas Agencies on Aging provided over 428,000 meals throughout the state last week, including over 94,000 from the Restaurant Meal Initiative. The weekly meal delivery represents a 223% increase over a week of meals served pre-COVID19.
- DOEA’s restaurant meal initiative has served 312,850 meals through 83 participating restaurants over the span of one month.
Additional actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19:
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
- To date, the Florida Department of Health has reported more than 1,000 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-t