TreasureCoast Covid-19 Update April 3 2020
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida now tops the nine-thousand mark. The Department of Health says the death toll has risen to 144.
The statewide Stay At Home Order is now in effect. Governor Ron DeSantis says it’s less important WHAT you do than HOW you do it.
DeSantis has signed new executive orders: one moving state workers from other agencies to help the Department of Economic Opportunity in fielding the flood of calls for unemployment assistance. And another order suspending foreclosures and evictions for 45 days.
Dozens of cruise ship passengers are in quarantine at Port Everglades. Holland America’s MS Zaandam docked yesterday, but 76 people, including 26 passengers, remain onboard under observation. Another 13 were taken off the ship to the hospital. Port officials say over 12-hundred people on the Zaandam and another Holland America ship were healthy enough to be allowed to go home.
All beaches in Volusia County, including Daytona Beach, are now closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. County Manager George Recktenwald says that includes parking lots, sand- and surf.
Beaches will remain open in Brevard County–but will be closed to tourists.
With the state slammed with applications for unemployment assistance as the pandemic worsens, Governor Ron DeSantis is signing an executive order to boost manpower so anxious Floridians can get through to someone when they call–
The governor says they’re also suspending foreclosures and evictions for 45 days
Disney employees will soon feel the economic impact of the coronavirus. Disney announced last night it will furlough workers starting on April 19th, but the company didn’t say how many people would be let go.
Stuart Police arrested a Martin County woman accused of failing to quarantine or isolate herself while waiting to receive the results of her COVID-19 test.
Wednesday, police say 38-year-old Melissa Barton was seen walking in downtown Stuart.
According to an arrest report, Barton had been active on Facebook discussing her COVID-19 test that she took 11-days before her arrest. The report says according to witnesses, Barton had entered a clothing store and shopped for a brief time and then exited the store, continuing to walk around the downtown area.
The report states, “The witnesses expressed grave concern for the safety and health of themselves and others.”
Police also wrote that on April 1, Barton posted a video on Facebook just hours prior to making contact with police stating she believed her test would come back positive.
“There were about three or four calls that came in. A couple of my detectives got some phone calls from the downtown business people who I guess identified this woman from Facebook. The initial call was the concern she could be COVID positive,” said Stuart Police Chief Joseph Tumminelli.
Officers arrested her for disorderly conduct and violation of Governor Ron Desantis’ Executive Order.
“This lady left our hands tied and we had to take her to the Martin County Jail,” Chief Tumminelli said.
According to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-51, anyone who meets the CDC’s definition of a PUI (Person Under Investigation) is supposed to be isolated or quarantined for a period of 14 days or until the person tests negative for COVID-19.
Barton is among the many still waiting for a test result.
Her social media indicates she was experiencing symptoms days before she was able to get a test. She told police she no longer had symptoms. Guidance from the Florida Department of Health states that people should begin to quarantine themselves for 14 days beginning on the day they believe they were exposed to the coronavirus.
Chief Tumminelli says his officers are not instructed to go looking for arrests, calling this a more extreme case.
“The intent is not to arrest. The intent is to educate and ask for the compliance,” Tumminelli said. “But if my officers do come across someone, a group of ten or more, they’re going to tell them hey, practice social distancing. We’re not going to make arrests on that, only in extreme circumstances to where our hands are tied. If I can get somebody to go home who needs to go home, they’ll go home.”
Barton was released from jail with an ankle monitor.
Court records show she will be confined to her home with the GPS tracking device until she receives a negative test.
Lowe’s Home Improvement announced it is joining a number of other essential businesses to offer pay raises to its frontline employees during a surge of demand amid the spread of COVID-19.
Lowe’s said on Thursday that the temporary $2 an hour wage increase will be effective for all full-time, part-time and seasonal hourly associates for the hours they work at Lowe’s stores, contact centers and supply chain facilities. The pay raise will remain in effect through the entire month of April.
Many children are no longer receiving school meals, millions of Americans are out of work, government checks are weeks away.
Feeding America, which is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, said on Thursday that food banks nationally are projected to encounter a $1.4 billion shortage over the next six months.
According to a Feeding America spokesperson, the organization is expecting food banks nationally to see a 30% increase in costs. That is largely because an estimated additional 17.1 million people will be experiencing food insecurity.
Adding insult to injury, food banks nationally are facing declines in donations and volunteer participation. Feeding America said it projects a 60% decline of their volunteer workforce who typically help package and deliver food, many of whom are retired senior citizens and school/corporate groups.
Helping put a dent in the shortage, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent Feeding America a $100 million gift. The donation marks the largest single contribution in Feeding America’s history. Bezos’ gift comes as 10 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last two weeks.
To support efforts nationwide, people can make a donation to the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund by going to feedingamerica.org .
There will soon be a new way to file for unemployment benefits in Florida.
Ken Lawson, the Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said on Thursday the state will soon offer paper applications for unemployment claims.
Floridians will be able to print out the paperwork and mail it in.
It comes after many Floridians reported having issues with the unemployment filing process and weren’t able to access the state’s CONNECT website or phone system.
For more information about applying for unemployment benefits in Florida, call the Claims Assistance Center at 1-800-204-2418.
President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he has invoked the Defense Production Act, requiring at least six national companies to produce ventilators to help combat illnesses related to COVID-19.
Thursday’s announcement comes as a model, which is guiding the White House’s decision making, suggests many states will reach ICU capacity in the coming days.
According to the “Chris Murray Model” compiled by the IHME, nearly 32,000 ventilators will be needed during the peak of COVID-19, which is projected to come in the middle of April.
The Chris Murray Model projects that New York will need up to 14,000 ventilators by next week.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 1 million on Thursday as cases in the United States and much of Europe continue to spike, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
As of 4 p.m. ET Thursday, there are 1.02 million cases. Nearly 23% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases are from the United States.
Of the more than 1 million cases, more than 51,000 have ended in death. As of Thursday, 181 countries have confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Besides the United States, Italy and Spain also have reported more than 100,000 cases.
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