Treasure Coast Covid-19 Update March 31,2019
There are now more than 57-hundred confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Florida. The Department of Health reports the death toll is up to 71. Governor Ron DeSantis is clarifying an executive order he has issued for Southeast Florida. At a Miami-Dade testing site, he mentioned that the “Safer At Home” order for Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties would be in effect until the middle of May, but mentioned a different date later in West Palm Beach.
DeSantis says the order means that people in these areas should only leave their homes for essential business, because 60 percent of the COVID-19 cases so far have been in those counties.
Monday marked the beginning of a new era in education in Martin County, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties. 9,000 laptops were distributed throughout Martin County to make sure students could get connected. Despite a last-minute purchase of 3,000 laptops, not every child could get their own. But there was at least one per family. The Martin County School District has set up four laptop sites throughout the county, so if parents and kids are having problems with the laptops, they can get them fixed or replaced. Kneiss said it wasn’t hard to get started. Students in Palm Beach and Indian River counties begin digital remote learning today. Schools across Florida will remain closed and remote learning extended through April 30th, according to guidance from the Florida Department of Education. ..
Martin County and Indian River County schools announced Monday that they will remain closed until May 1 due to the coronavirus. Martin County School district says the decision has been made in light of recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. It has not yet been confirmed which other districts will follow suit. Port St. Lucie will hold an emergency meeting on April 2 to discuss whether to adopt a local order.
There are new efforts to support the men and women on the front lines of the coronavirus. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, medical professionals, and other essential employees are putting in a lot of hours.
Now, they’re getting help to make sure their focus can stay on their jobs and not stress at home. St. Lucie County Commissioner announced Friday that the county secured a $100,000 grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation, awarded to The Community Foundation of Martin- St. Lucie’s COVID-19 response fund. It will help cover the costs of childcare for first responders and healthcare workers through the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County.
The grant will help pay for daily childcare costs, overnight childcare costs, and help staff keep their jobs. Children will also have help logging on to virtual school which starts Monday statewide. He said the grant should guarantee childcare costs are covered for at least one month. The St Lucie County Commissioner added that community members and business owners can also sponsor a child’s childcare to help extend how long the service can be free for those families.
First responders in St. Lucie County just received a much-needed donation to combat the coronavirus. One-hundred COVID-19 rapid-testing collection kits were donated Friday to firefighters in St. Lucie County. They were donated by a medical supply company and shipped overnight from a warehouse in California. The St. Lucie Fire District said they are also working to purchase 250 more testing kits.
A Florida pastor is in trouble for holding church services during the coronavirus outbreak. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested Monday after ignoring social distancing orders, and holding a packed service at his Tampa Bay megachurch the day before. The Hillsborough County Sheriff said his “reckless disregard for human life” put hundreds in his congregation at risk.
Plans for a Holland America cruise ship with sick passengers to dock at Port Everglades are still up in the air. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis thinks docking the Zaandam in a hotspot is a bad idea.
Trantalis says he spoke with the White House which claims a plan is in place to deal with the ship.
Disney executive Bob Iger will give up his salary starting today, and new CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50-percent pay cut. Disney World and the company’s other parks are shut down indefinitely, as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
A group called “Whole Worker” is requesting Whole Foods Market to make administrative changes to improve working conditions and pay for the grocery chain’s employees. To force the issue, Whole Worker is calling for a mass sickout of Whole Foods employees on Tuesday. The group was originally calling for the sickout to be held on May 1. Grocery store workers are being told to go to work as they’re considered essential employees, while non-essential employees are being told to stay or work from home to prevent the spread of the virus.
Among the demands, Whole Worker is requesting:
-Guaranteed paid leave for all workers who isolate or self-quarantine instead of coming to work.
-Reinstatement of health care coverage for part-time and seasonal workers.
-Increased FSA funds to cover coronavirus testing and treatment for all team members, including part-time and seasonal.
-Guaranteed hazard pay in the form of double pay during our scheduled hours.
-Implementation of new policies that can facilitate social distancing between workers and customers.
-Commitment to ensuring that all locations have adequate sanitation equipment and procedures in place.
-Immediate shutdown of any location where a worker tests positive for COVID-19. In such an event, all workers should continue to receive full pay until the store can safely reopen.
Whole Foods is not the only company to extend paid sick leave for employees who have COVID-19 symptoms. Kroger and Walmart also have announced paid leave for workers with coronavirus symptoms.
Here is a link to the Martin Board of County Commissioners meeting on Monday March 31, 2020 .
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