(update 5/27/2020 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.

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

  • This week, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 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.
  • The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) shared the Aging Network Mental Health Survey responses with the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)s. The purpose of the survey was to assist AAAs’ in gauging and assessing the current mental health efforts, capacity, and gaps by specific regions.
  • Approximately 2,383 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 279,440 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Since March 1 CareerSource Florida has assisted the following individuals:
    • More than 316,000 job seekers served
    • More than 14,100 job seekers placed in employment
    • More than 1,300 job seekers enrolled in training
    • More than 19,125 businesses served
    • More than 51,000 new jobs posted
  • The Florida Department of Transportation is leading the coordination of the Department of Health and the Florida Highway Patrol to implement Executive Order 20-86. To date, more than 47,200 traveler forms have been collected at the I-10 and I-95 checkpoints. To date, more than 49,300 traveler forms have been collected at public use airports across the state.

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-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.
  • DOH established mechanisms for monitoring and coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding epidemiological activities.
  • DOH distributed CDC Interim Guidance for public health personnel evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases at their home or non-home residential settings to CHDs.
  • DOH approved and disseminated an updated Clinician Screening Tool for identifying COVID-19 PUIs.
  • DOH implemented testing at all three State Public Health Laboratories and distributed updated laboratory guidance regarding implementation of testing at State Public Health Laboratories.
  • DOH has worked to implement additional private lab testing.
  • DOH has developed and disseminated pandemic planning guidance.
  • Advised CHDs and HCCs to retain expired personal protective equipment until further notice.
  • DOH is continuing support for long-term care facilities with REST teams. DOH strike teams have completed assessments for 3,874 long term care facilities to determine immediate unmet needs and promote appropriate infection control practices.
  • DOH strike teams are continuing to respond to long term care facilities with COVID-19 positive patients.
  • 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.

FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, the state has established 15 drive-thru and 15 walk-up testing sites across the state, with more coming online. More than 210,000 people have been tested at these sites. Floridians can find a site near them here.
  • The state has deployed antibody testing for firs responders to five drive-thru sites located in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Orange and Duval counties. The sites with antibody tests are:
    •  FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
    • Hard Rock Stadium
    • Miami Beach Convention Center
    • Orange County Convention Center
    • TIAA Bank Field Lot J
  • To date, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has sent the following PPE to support health care workers and first responders:
    • Nearly 27.5 million masks
    • More than 11 million gloves
    • Nearly 1.7 million face shields
    • More than 1.1 million shoe covers
    • More than 567 thousand gowns
    • 90 thousand goggles
    • 49 thousand coveralls
  • For long-term care facilities alone, the Division has sent:
    • More than 10 million masks
    • 1 million gloves
    • More than 500,000 face shields
    • 160,000 gowns
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management has launched a website to track the mobile lab that is testing long-term care facilities across the state. The website is available here.
  • Find more information on DEM’s response to COVID-19 here. 

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • To date, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has made more than 1,400 onsite visits to facilities and nearly 14,500 telephone calls to residential providers statewide to provide support and determine emergent needs of facilities.
  • 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