MONROE COUNTY Updated Fact Sheet, 3-16-20, 10 a.m

MONROE COUNTY Updated Fact Sheet, 3-16-20, 10 a.m

New Information

  • Monroe County declares State of Local Emergency. There will be no gatherings on County property of 50 or more people, and Emergency Management encourages all businesses and organizers to limit or cancel gatherings of 50 or more people through at least March 22, 2020. Right now, the recommendations and actions will continue in week-by-week increments and can be canceled at any time. This is issued for the next seven days, but it is expected to be renewed through the next 14 days.
  • VOTING: Tuesday, March 17, 2020, according to the Supervisor of Elections voting will be taking place at all precincts tomorrow. She does not expect crowds for voting and extra precautions like sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be available. More information:
  • The Monroe County School Board has canceled classes for students until Monday, March 30. More information on the closures:
  • Major U.S. cruise lines have voluntarily suspended operations for 30 days due to coronavirus. There is a cruise ship docked at Port of Key West Saturday morning and is scheduled to depart at 4 p.m. That should mark the last cruise ship that will visit Key West for the next 30 days. The port is still open for marine traffic which includes recreational vessels.
  • There are no protective actions to prevent people from entering or leaving the Keys at this time.
  • RESPOND TO THE U.S. CENSUS ONLINE: If you DO NOT respond to the U.S. Census, Census workers will be required to go to homes that have not responded. You DO NOT need an invitation code to respond online at -- no pin needed. Plan to include everyone you expect to live in your home on April 1.
    • You can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more. If you need help completing the 2020 Census, you can call a toll-free phone number 844-330-2020. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services and the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.

Know this:

  • There are currently 0 Florida Keys Confirmed Cases.
  • Investigations are being conducted.
  • Testing has been conducted in Monroe County. As of March 16, tests have come back negative.
  • Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to facilitate weekly conference calls with partner agencies and the municipalities.
  • Monroe County Emergency Operations Center is activated to level three: heightened monitoring. On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 9 a.m., Monroe County Emergency Management will activate its EOC to Level 2 Partial Activation.
  • Assisted living facilities have limited visitation and are taking extra precautions.
  • The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention center has virtual visitation options available for inmates:
  • FDOH has a team of epidemiologists working in the Florida Keys.

Hospitals, Private Care Physicians, Transfers, and Testing

Hospitals and private care physicians have policies and procedures in place for this type of event. The local hospitals have prepared for an influx of patients if needed. If a doctor suspects a case of COVID-19, they know to immediately notify their infection control program and the health department. Please do not show up to the Health Department locations in Monroe County. You must first see your medical health professional where he or she will determine if you meet the criteria to be tested. The health department will then be contacted by the health professional if the patient meets the criteria for testing at the state lab.

Feeling Sick?

  • If you suspect you have COVID-19 and believe a test is needed, call your doctor first. If you do not have a doctor, call your local urgent care or clinic. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If hospitalized or in an emergency room and you meet the testing criteria for the state, a sample will be collected at the hospital. If the individual does not meet state testing criteria, the medical director at the hospital may send the sample to a commercial lab.
  • If you are at a physician’s office and meet the testing criteria for the state, then the sample will be collected by the hospital or DOH staff. If the individual does not meet state criteria for testing, then he or she will need to find a private provider currently set up to do the test at a commercial lab. Most private providers are taking steps to set up commercial testing in their offices.


"We have an adequate number of test kits available in Monroe County."

-Bob Eadie, Monroe County Health Dept, March 13. 

  • FDOH labs are prioritizing testing for those with symptoms who had close contact with a confirmed case, but commercial testing is also available at the discretion of a doctor. 
  • The DOH is following CDC guidelines for prioritizing testing and criteria. More information is at
  • Due to protecting the personal information of patients, the Florida Dept. of Health is unable to breakdown the number of individuals who have received a negative test, have pending test results, or are under public health monitoring by community. Therefore, the County does NOT have access to the number of people in Monroe County who have been tested. 
  • The breakdown of the number of individuals and their location are not disclosed due to patient privacy laws and to protect personally identifiable health information (PHI) of Floridians, by law. To view the breakdown of confirmed counties, visit
  • This week, the FDOH will have the capacity to do 5,300 tests a day, and the Quest commercial laboratory will be able to process 50,000 a day in its facilities. You still must meet the criteria for testing. 

Interfacility Transfers

  • Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsey has said that Trauma Star will not transport COVID-19 patients at this time.
  • Monroe County Fire Rescue will transport life-threatening situations to the mainland regardless of COVID-19. As with any communicable disease, Monroe County Fire Rescue has the policies and procedures in place to protect themselves and sterilize and protect future patients.


"Remember 80 percent of people who will be exposed to COVID-19 will experience mild to no symptoms. Just because you are not feeling well, does not mean you have COVID-19. Please follow all the recommended precautions and if you are not feeling well, consult your medical provider before going in." - Bob Eadie, Florida Dept. of Health Monroe County.



  • The Monroe County School Board has canceled classes for students until Monday, March 30. More information on the closures:
  • At College of the Florida Keys, most classes will transition to 100 percent online instruction immediately until Monday, April 6. More information can be found at

Cruise Ship Information

Major U.S. cruise lines have voluntarily suspended operations for 30 days due to coronavirus. The port is still open for marine traffic which includes recreational vessels.

Key West International Airport Information 

  • Key West International Airport and Marathon Florida Keys Airport are open and operational. 
  • Major airport hubs, like Miami International Airport, Atlanta, New York, and Los Angelas, and more are screened before they board their flight for any communicable illnesses.
  • Individuals who are confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, or other communicable diseases, are added to a CDC list. The list is transmitted to TSA so that it can be uploaded to Secure Flight. When the TSA Secure Flight vetting system identifies a CDC listed individual with a flight reservation, they cannot generate a boarding pass and the airline receives a do not board notification. This process applies to flights to, from, or within the US.
  • Restrooms at the airport are retrofitted with hands-free faucets and paper towel dispensers.

Business Information

As announced, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be providing up to $2 million in low-interest Disaster Loans in designated states and territories for business impacted by COVID-19.

SBA Disaster Assistance

  • The loans will be available for economic injury caused by COVID-19. Small businesses can use loan proceeds to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Eligible uses include paying fixed debts, payroll, accounts receivable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of COVID-19 impacts.
  • Loan terms can be up to 30 years and the interest rate is 3.75% for businesses determined to not have credit available elsewhere. Nonprofits are eligible for loans at 2.75%. More information:
  • Although the program has been activated, Florida businesses cannot apply for assistance yet. The next step will be for Governor DeSantis to request an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration after conducting a business damage assessment survey of the state’s businesses.

Economic Impact Survey

  • The State of Florida has activated a survey to help determine the economic impact of COVID-19 on the state’s businesses. This will assist State/local authorities in determining the scope of impact and what type of financial assistance to provide to businesses.
  • If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, the survey is available at

Visitor Infomation

  • There are no advisories discouraging travel to the Florida Keys. 
  • Citizens of some affected countries are prohibited to travel to the United States, according to government officials, please visit for the most updated travel information. 
  • TDC: Coronavirus Information for Visitors

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