Protecting Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Florida Deptarment of Health:
COVID-19 information "What you need to know now about COVID-19 in Florida"
To keep Florida residents and visitors safe, informed and aware about the status of the virus, The Florida Department of Health has launched a COVID-19 dashboard that will be updated twice daily.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The following information has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the coronavirus.
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily does the virus spread?
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) web page.
Prevention & Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- 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.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on persons under investigation.
What to Do If You Are Sick With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
- The Florida Department of Health is actively involved in enhanced surveillance for respiratory illness that may be COVID-19.
- Epidemiologists will follow up on any suspected cases that meet criteria for COVID-19 to arrange for testing when needed and monitor contacts of any confirmed cases, if they occur.
- Epidemiologic consultation is available 24/7 through the county health departments and Bureau of Epidemiology at 850-245-4401.
What You Need To Know | President Trump’s Coronavirus Response Efforts
President Trump and his Administration are working every day to protect the health and wellbeing of Americans and respond to the coronavirus.
- President Trump declared a national emergency, inviting States, territories, and tribes to access over $42 billion in existing funding.
- President Trump signed legislation securing $8.3 billion for coronavirus response.
- President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ensuring that American families and businesses impacted by the virus receive the strong support they need.
- To leverage the resources of the entire government, the President created a White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate response.
- The Vice President named Dr. Deborah Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.
- At the request of President Trump, FEMA is leading federal operations on behalf of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
- FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center has been activated to its highest level in support of coronavirus response.
- The President held a teleconference with other G20 leaders to coordinate coronavirus response.
SUPPORTING STATE AND LOCAL EFFORTS
- President Trump issued a letter informing our nation’s governors that the Administration is developing new guidelines for state and local policy makers.
- The President has approved major disaster declarations for heavily impacted states.
- The Administration is covering costs of deploying National Guard units to assist with response efforts in hard hit states, while ensuring governors remain in command.
- The President has held multiple teleconferences with our nation’s governors to coordinate response efforts and offer his full support.
- In January, President Trump reacted quickly to implement travel restrictions on travel from China, buying us valuable time to respond to the virus.
- The President has announced further travel restrictions on global hotspots, including Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Iran.
- American citizens returning from travel-restricted countries are being routed to specific airports, where they can be screened and isolated as needed.
- The United States reached mutual agreements with Mexico and Canada to restrict non-essential travel across our northern and southern borders.
- The Administration announced it will expeditiously return aliens who cross between ports of entry or are otherwise not allowed to enter the country, as the facilities in which these aliens would be held cannot support quarantine for the time needed to assess potential cases.
- The Administration raised travel warnings to their highest level for other hot spot locations, like Japan and South Korea.
- The President has expanded airport screenings to identify travelers showing symptoms and instituted mandatory quarantines.
- The State Department issued a global level 4 travel advisory, urging Americans to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.
- The State Department has worked to safely repatriate 9,000 Americans from 28 countries around the world.
EXPANDING TESTING ACCESS
- The FDA has issued emergency approval for multiple new commercial coronavirus tests to significantly expand testing across the country.
- The President secured legislation that will ensure Americans are able to be tested for free.
- The Administration is working with state and local partners and the private sector to open up drive-through testing sites.
- The Administration is working with the private sector to develop a website that Americans can utilize to determine whether they need a test and, if so, where to get it.
- HHS is providing funding to help accelerate the development of rapid diagnostic tests for the coronavirus.
- The FDA cut red tape to expand testing availability.
- Admiral Brett Giroir – the Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the Public Health Service – has been appointed to coordinate coronavirus testing efforts.
- The FDA is empowering states to authorize tests developed and used by laboratories in their states.
- The Department of Defense has set up 15 coronavirus testing sites worldwide.
- The President signed legislation requiring more reporting from state and private labs to ensure our public health officials have the data they need to respond to this outbreak.
- DoD and HHS worked to airlift hundreds of thousands of swabs and sample test kits from Italy to the United States.
HELPING FAMILIES AND WORKING AMERICANS
- The Administration negotiated legislation which will provide tax credits for eligible businesses that give paid leave to Americans affected by the virus.
- The Department of Labor issued guidance to help inform Americans about the paid family and medical leave available to them.
- The Administration took action to provide more flexibility in unemployment insurance programs for workers impacted by the coronavirus.
- The Treasury Department moved tax day from April 15 to July 15.
- President Trump signed legislation providing funding and flexibility for emergency nutritional aid for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families.
- USDA announced new flexibilities to allow meal service during school closures.
- USDA announced a new collaboration with the private sector to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals a week to students in rural schools closed due to the coronavirus.
- HHS has announced $250 million in grants to help communities provide meals for seniors.
- The Administration is halting foreclosures and evictions for families with FHA-insured mortgages.
- The Department of Labor announced up to $100 million in dislocated worker grants in response to the coronavirus national health emergency.
- The White House worked with the private sector to launch a central website where families, students, and educators can access online education technologies.
- President Trump signed legislation to provide continuity in educational benefits for veterans and their families who attend schools that have had to switch to online learning.
- The Department of Education has given broad approval to colleges and universities to allow them to more easily move their classes online.
- The Department of Education set interest rates on all federally-held student loans to 0% for at least 60 days.
- The Department of Education announced borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments on federally-held student loans for at least two months.
- The Department of Education is providing waivers for federal testing requirements to states that have had to close schools.
SUPPORTING IMPACTED BUSINESSES
- The Small Business Administration has announced disaster loans which provide impacted businesses with up to $2 million.
- SBA relaxed criteria for disaster assistance loans – expanding small businesses’ access to economic assistance.
- The President directed the Energy Department to purchase large quantities of crude oil for the strategic reserve.
- President Trump has held calls and meetings with business leaders from the pharmaceutical industry, airlines, health insurers, grocery stores, retail stores, banks, and more.
- The Treasury Department approved the establishment of the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility to provide liquidity to the financial system.
- The Export-Import Bank announced four new temporary relief programs to provide maximum financing flexibility and inject liquidity into the market.
INFORMING THE PUBLIC
- The Administration launched a website – coronavirus.gov – to keep the public informed about the outbreak.
- The President launched a partnership with the Ad Council, media networks, and digital platforms to communicate public services announcements about the coronavirus.
- The President announced guidelines for Americans to follow and do their part to stem the spread of the virus.
- The Task Force is holding nearly daily press conferences to provide the American people with the latest information.
- The Task Force has recommended mitigation strategies to heavily impacted communities, like those in New York, Washington, and California.
- CMS announced guidance to protect vulnerable elderly Americans and limit medically unnecessary visits to nursing homes.
SUPPORTING PATIENTS AND HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
- In January, the Administration declared the coronavirus to be a public health emergency.
- The President donated his fourth-quarter 2019 salary to the Department of Health and Human Services for coronavirus response efforts.
- The President took action to give HHS authority to waive rules and regulations so that healthcare providers have maximum flexibility to respond to this outbreak.
- HHS is providing funding to help healthcare systems across the country quickly prepare for a surge in coronavirus patients.
- CMS is giving flexibility to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus tests and treatment.
- CMS created new billing codes for coronavirus tests to promote better tracking of the public health response.
- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinated with the NIH, the tech industry, and non-profits to release a machine readable collection of 29,000 coronavirus-related research articles, which will help scientists discover insights to virus’ genetics, incubation, treatment, symptoms, and prevention.
- The White House launched a new public-private consortium to help provide coronavirus research projects access to powerful supercomputer resources.
- The Administration announced that health plans with health savings accounts will be able to cover coronavirus testing and treatment without co-payments.
- CMS dramatically expanded telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries, ensuring more patients can access their doctors remotely while avoiding exposure.
- HHS lifted HIPAA penalties to enable healthcare providers to expand telehealth access for patients.
- The FDA took action to allow expanded use of devices to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely, reducing hospital visits and minimizing risks of exposure.
- The VA established 19 emergency operations centers across the country and put in place visitation restrictions to limit patients’ exposure.
- Thanks to a waiver from the Office of Personnel Management, the VA is working to rehire retired medical personnel during the coronavirus outbreak.
- CMS and the VA are working to limit nonessential, elective medical procedures to free up healthcare resources.
- The Department of Defense issued guidance to delay elective medical procedures at military facilities in order to preserve healthcare resources.
- The Navy will be deploying two medical ships to help support impacted areas.
- The President announced Carnival Cruise Lines will be making ships available for hospitals to use for non-coronavirus patients.
- The Army Corps of Engineers is helping to build temporary hospitals and medical facilities in states like New York and Washington.
STRENGTHENING ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES
- The Administration mobilized a Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force led by Rear Admiral John Polowczyk.
- FEMA is working to distribute ventilators and other critical supplies to hard hit states like New York.
- The President invoked the Defense Production Act, providing a number of authorities that can be used if needed.
- The President urged the private sector to bolster response efforts, leading companies across the country to produce more critical supplies like masks, ventilators, and hand sanitizer.
- The President signed a memorandum directing his Administration to make general-use face masks available to healthcare workers.
- HHS announced it will be purchasing 500 million N95 respirators for the Strategic National Stockpile.
- The Department of Defense announced it will be providing 5 million respirator masks and 2,000 specialized ventilators to assist.
- The President signed legislation removing restrictions that prevented manufacturers from selling industrial masks – which can readily protect healthcare workers – directly to hospitals.
- The President signed an executive order to prevent hoarding and price-gouging of critical medical supplies.
- The Department of Justice has taken action to combat coronavirus related fraud.
DEVELOPING VACCINES AND THERAPEUTICS
- The Administration is working to help accelerate the development of therapeutics and a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.
- The FDA is evaluating existing drugs that could serve as potential therapeutics for coronavirus patients.
- The Trump Administration is actively working with drug manufacturers to monitor any potential drug supply chain issues.
- The Administration is expanding research and consulting with experts to better understand the transmission of coronavirus.
- The National Institutes of Health has announced the beginning of a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine candidate
More on Protecting Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
A bipartisan group of members of Congress are urging colleagues to provide additional resources for biomedical research and development (R&D) to strengthen the international response to COVID-19.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world, not much in everyday life remains the same. Economies from the largest to the smallest have been rocked. Government lockdowns have been undertaken, the likes of which have never been experienced in the modern world. With the virus originating in Wuhan, China, several questions remain:
How has the virus spread so rapidly across the globe?
How long are incubation rates?
What is the most accurate testing method?
How much time is needed to develop a safe and effective vaccine?
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Ted S. Yoho (R-FL) and Darren Soto (D-FL) introduced the bipartisan American-Made Protection for Healthcare Workers and First Responders Act to ensure the United States builds its stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This bill is a House companion bill to Senator Rick Scott’s introduced in the Senate with the same title.
On Thursday, members of the Florida delegation sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to fulfill requests made by the Florida Division of Emergency Management for medical resources and personnel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In the letter, which was led by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the members highlighted the need for these resources to be delivered within the next 48 hours and asked for the request to be fulfilled immediately so the Florida government could continue working diligently to combat coronavirus.