The Florida Department of Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor and respond to an outbreak of respiratory illness by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named "SARS-CoV-2" and the disease it causes has been named "coronavirus disease 2019" (abbredviated "COVID-19").
While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situation, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States. At this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus as the virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed. The Florida Department of Health continues to work closely with it’s local partners to investigate, confirm, contain and report any suspected cases when they occur. While there are several confirmed cases on the west coast of Florida, there are currently no confirmed cases here in South Florida.
Steps the City is taking:
In Hollywood, City leaders continue to closely monitor the situation and are working with our partners at the CDC, Florida Department of Health, Memorial Regional Hospital and other local, state and federal organizations. . Daily operations of all City services continues, including after care programming. Staff continues to work with vendors to secure the supply chain, and are assessing internal procedures and protocols to ensure that we are prepared in the event of an emergency. Additional hand sanitizer distribution locations are being deployed at City facilities, and increased communication with employees regarding standard hygiene protocols is ongoing. The City is also exploring telecommunication options for staff should the outbreak reach our doorstep.
The Department of Public Works is obtaining supplies like gloves and wipes which will be distributed to City facilities and Fire Rescue is securing supplies and PPE, known as personal protection equipment. Additionally, with the assistance of Communication staff, messaging to our vulnerable population has been created. Fire Rescue personal are distributing a tips flyer to each and every one of the 40+ nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our City.
Current risk assessment:
- For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.
What may happen:
More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur and at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States could occur. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.
How to protect yourself:
Everyone can do their part to help respond to this emerging public health threat. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:
- take everyday preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing or any physical contact with another individual.
- if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, especially immediately after contact with others or coughing or sneezing.
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve (not your hand), then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick, exhibiting symptoms or who may have been exposed to the virus
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a disinfecting household cleaning spray or wipe.
- if you begin to feel sick, go home as soon as possible and stay home if you are sick
- if you are symptomatic or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, please remain home and do not have contact with other individuals unless it is to seek medical attention.
- if you believe you have been exposed to the virus, are experiencing flu-like symptoms, has been in contact with someone infected with coronavirus or has traveled to a country where the outbreak exists, and you believe you may be infected, I encourage you to seek immediate medical attention. Go to the hospital and get checked out.
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms:
- take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
- use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest
Review your emergency plan to ensure:
- Two-week supply of water and food.
- Check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Non-prescription drugs and other health supplies, like pain relievers, fluids with electrolytes, medical equipment, etc.
- If you find your low on supplies, consider stocking up.
- Printed copies and electronic versions of health records.
- Confirm points of contact with family members and friends.
- Extra disinfectant household cleaning agents and wipes.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider. For more information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, symptoms, diagnosis, transmission and prevention, please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
Memorial Regional Hospital is offering Telehealth Services via their website and the Florida Department of Health have activated a telephone hotline. Those interested in seeking additional healthcare information may go online or call the Florida Health Hotline at 866.779.6121. The call center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight. Information is also available via email at COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
State of Florida Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-51
State of Florida Department of Health Declaration of Public Health Emergency
State of Florida Department of Health Website Updates