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Treasure Coast Covid-19 Update March 23, 2019

St Lucie & Martin County beaches to close

Treasure Coast Covid-19 Update March 23, 2019

One week ago today, Florida had fewer than 150 confirmed cases of coronavirus. That number is now up to one-thousand-seven. 13 people in the state have died. 

In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, St. Lucie County will be closing access to all county beaches on North and South Hutchinson Island effective Monday, March 23 at 8 a.m. until further notice.

St. Lucie County’s Emergency Management team has been monitoring the use of beaches and outdoor facilities since last week regarding the public’s participation in following the social distancing guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

Unfortunately, residents and visitors are not following the CDC’s recommendations of limiting unnecessary travel and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people. If residents continue to disregard these recommendations, additional closures are likely to continue. To help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), residents should avoid unnecessary travel, limit social interactions, maintain a distinct of at least six feet from others and continue to practice good hygiene such as frequent hand washing with soap and water, and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your arm, instead of your hands. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face. Avoid close contact with people who are sick or exhibit symptoms. If you are sick; please stay home and contact your primary doctor.

For additional information and updates relating to COVID-19 in St. Lucie County, please visit: www.stlucieco.gov/covid-19.

As of Sunday, March 22, 2020, a second positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Martin County by the State Health Department.

All Martin County beaches will be closed until further notice. Martin County will be closing all county-owned beaches to public access until further notice. The beach closure went into effect as of sunset Sunday, March 22, 2020. The closure includes Sand Dune Café at Jensen Beach. Visit www.martin.fl.us/Coronavirus for more information.

The Town of Sewall’s Point Park, a.k.a. Town Commons Park will be closed until further notice. Following the guidance of Martin County, the Town closed the park to public access on sunset Sunday, March 22, 2020, until further notice.

The first rapid diagnostic test for coronavirus has been approved by the FDA.

The new test can detect COVID-19 in about 45 minutes. California-based company Cepheid, which makes the test, says they can start shipping it next week. Clinicians say faster testing will help alleviate some of the pressure on hospital resources. The test is a significant advancement because some patients have complained it took them days to get results.

With precautions around COVID-19 prompting the temporary closure of its four Clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County is unfortunately currently unable to provide its signature safe havens and positive mentorships for its nearly 2,000 club members. But that hasn’t stopped it from providing its Club members—as well as youth across the county—with free meals.

Starting immediately, the nonprofit organization is launching a food relief effort to minimize the stress and uncertainly further afflicting the vulnerable populations that comprise the bulk of its membership.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County will provide free meals to children under age 18—whether they are club members or not—now through Sunday, March 22.

Meals are available for pick up at the four club locations:

Cloe-Clark Club, 11500 SE Lares Ave., Hobe Sound

Bill & Barbara Whitman Club, 17375 SW Palm Beach St., Indiantown

H. Wayne Huizenga Club, 1150 SW Martin Downs Blvd., Palm City

John & Marge Bolton Club, 4731 SE Flounder Ave., Stuart

Meals provided include dinner and a snack. Provisions can be picked up drive-through style outside the clubs from 4 to 7 p.m. through Sunday. Those receiving can accept the meals regardless if they arrive on foot, by bike or by car.

While 11 percent of Martin County residents reportedly qualify as food insecure, such numbers are particularly concentrated among the members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County. More than 85 percent of the Clubs membership qualifies for the Martin County School District’s free/reduced meals program—nearly twice the average districtwide. Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County serves more than 100,000 free meals to members every year. Membership in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County is free.

Additional support

Starting March 23 through March 27, the Martin County School District’s Food & Nutrition Services Department with open its Summer Meals Program, serving breakfast and lunch to children under age 18 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Locations include:

J.D. Parker Rockets, 1010 E. 10th St., Stuart

Port Salerno Elementary School, 3260 SE Lionel Terrace, Stuart

Warfield Elementary School, 15260 SW 150th Street, Indiantown

For individuals needing additional assistance, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County recommends contacting any of its nonprofit partners—House of Hope, The Salvation Army, Love and Hope in Action (LAHIA), Meals on Wheels, the Treasure Coast Food Bank or by dialing 211.

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Florida lawmakers finally finished up the state budget last week. But will they have to come back in special session to account for the impact of the coronavirus. Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley says wait on that.

Unemployment claims have shot up in recent weeks, but lawmakers say the booming economy in recent years piled up state revenues. 

News is changing hourly when it comes to the coronavirus, making it extremely difficult to update Florida’s homeless population.

A Florida man is under arrest for stealing 66 rolls of toilet paper from a Marriott hotel in Orlando. The 31-year-old suspect was spotted by security Thursday morning placing a garbage bag into his truck. The bag was filled with bathroom tissue

Republican Sen. Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness associated with the new coronavirus. This makes him the first known U.S. senator to be diagnosed with the virus at the center of the pandemic. Paul’s diagnosis was announced on the Kentucky lawmaker’s Twitter page Sunday. The series of tweets say Paul is “feeling fine” and is in quarantine.

President Donald Trump announced Sunday that the National Guard has been “activated” in New York, California and Washington state to help the three states hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Trump made the announcement during Sunday’s coronavirus task force briefing, adding that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be covering the cost.

A FEMA official at the briefing said that both New York and Washington have already been approved for major disaster declarations to allow the federal government to more seamlessly provide supplies. California’s request is being considered. Trump also said that the Navy hospital ship Mercy will be dispatched to Los Angeles to help to help relieve the state’s overwhelmed hospitals. Non-coronavirus patients will be treated on board.

A similar ship is being sent to New York City. The FEMA official said the projected need for hospital beds in California is five times greater than it is in Washington. The White House briefing comes as Congress and the Trump administration continue negotiations over a ballooning nearly $1.4 trillion economic rescue package to steady the nation in crisis. The Treasury Secretary has indicated a deal is within reach, but congressional Democratic leaders raised concerns after a meeting Sunday at the Capitol. Worldwide, Johns Hopkins says over 329,000 cases have been reported, with over 14,300 deaths. Italy’s death toll is the highest with at least 4,825. 

It’s a food frenzy like none we’ve ever seen – hoarding of paper products, people waiting for hours in line to score groceries for their family, and endless empty shelves, all because of an invisible enemy, COVID-19. Officials say there is plenty of food for everyone.  The chaos surrounding the coronavirus has rolled into grocery stores across the country. Customers hoarding more than just toilet paper. Shelves are largely bare as people frantically fill their fridges and freezer.  Leslie Sarasin, President & CEO of the Food Industry Association says there’s more than enough food to go around during the coronavirus crisis. The USDA says inspections will “continue as normal” and are committed to keeping the “food supply safe.”  As the food industry waits to catch up and fully stock the shelves once again, leaders around the country are urging calm. The experts from Ready.gov suggest that your best bet is to stock up on foods that will last for a while like pasta, peanut butter and flour.

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