Treasure Coast Covid-19 Update 4/15/2020
The Florida Department of Health is now reporting more than 21-thousand-600 cases of coronavirus statewide. 72 people died yesterday, the death toll is up to 571. There are signs that social distancing is working in Florida. Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz says mitigation efforts are flattening the curve. He warns, though, that we have to stay the course.
Meanwhile, a Central Florida school is doing its part to help those on the front lines of the pandemic. Florida Tech in Melbourne is making face shields and masks for doctors and other healthcare workers. Students and employees are using a 3D printer to produce about a dozen masks per day.
The governor is standing by a controversial decision about what kind of businesses are essential. Ron DeSantis declared the WWE is an essential business, which allows the company to stage wrestling TV shows in their Orlando performance center. DeSantis says people are starved for new entertainment content, and pointed out there will be no crowd at the WWE shows.
Governor Ron DeSantis says they’re looking into the feasibility of automatically enrolling the tens of thousands of Disney workers who are about to file for jobless benefits.
St. Lucie County announced Tuesday that it will be adjusting the level of response calls for the Animal Safety, Service and Protection staff beginning April 16.
In an Executive Order expected to be signed Wednesday, the county will still keep many functions running but will be scaling back in some areas to provide protection to the staff that might respond to calls that could expose them to COVID-19.
Staff will continue to operate the temporary animal shelter and care for the animals that are currently in its custody while taking new measures to reduce the number of new animals that come into the shelter.
County officials say the order follows guidelines provided by the National Animal Care and Control Association.
The NACA recommends that officers continue to respond to high priority/ emergency calls. That includes law enforcement assistance, injured or sick stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, and dangerous and aggressive dog complaints.
The NACA also recommends suspending non-emergency owner surrender intakes at the shelter and encourages owners who are ill to keep their pets at home whenever possible.
St. Lucie County officials say pet owners should have several plans for their pets in the event they are no longer able to take care of them because of illness or financial struggles. They recommend reaching out to family or friends for help, using social media to find the pet another home, or reaching out to a local rescue agency.
If someone has lost their pet, they can check the county’s website to see if it is being housed at the temporary shelter.
Martin County’s Animal Control officers are still responding to emergency calls and priority calls for service, but they are trying to resolve more low-priority cases over the phone, such as barking dogs.
Palm Beach County Animal Control is only accepting emergency surrenders of animals, including cruelty and cases of domestic violence. They are not aggressively picking up strays.
A Stuart man who beat the coronavirus is gaining national attention for his plasma donation, helping potentially save the life of an Orlando father.
James P. Crocker, who lives in Martin County and is the president and founder of Hog Technologies in Stuart, said he contracted COVID-19 while attended a funeral in Palm City on Feb. 27 for his nephew.
Crocker said 20 people at the service got sick about a week later. He was one of two family members who tested positive for the coronavirus.
As he recovered, Crocker reached out to a friend in Orlando who had told him about 52-year-old Michael Kevin Rathel’s battle with the coronavirus in Orlando.
His friend told him that his 52 year-old friend was “perfectly healthy” but now “on life support and his only real chance was plasma.
Rathel was hospitalized in a coma and hydroxychloroquine and other treatments did not work.
Since he was recovered after defeating the virus, Crocker said he felt the need to donate his plasma in an experimental treatment.
Crocker drove to Orlando and within 36 hours had donated his plasma, meeting Rathel’s family beforehand.
On his Facebook page last week, Crocker shared his struggle to get tested to donate plasma in an effort to save Rathel, who was in a Orlando hospital in an induced coma.
Convalescent plasma uses blood from coronavirus survivors to help patients with COVID-19. The FDA recently approved it only for emergency use on a case by case basis. After the donation, Crocker said Rathel quickly began to require less oxygen.
The Red Cross has issued a plea to people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma to treat seriously ill patients fighting the virus.