Monroe County Covid-19 RUMOR CONTROL UPDATE

Monroe County Covid-19 RUMOR CONTROL UPDATE

Monroe County is Closed to Visitors

State Dept. of Health Breakdown by County -https://floridahealthcovid19.gov

Under “Review case, monitoring and PUI information on the latest COVID-19 Daily Report”  Click “See the Report.” This report is updated twice per day. 

Road Closures

US1 is still open/there are no roadblocks or check-in stations in Florida City. There are no plans to close US1 at this time, but it is being re-evaluated daily. There are no restrictions for homeowners to come and go. There is no lodging available for those who are leisure visitors. Construction workers are welcome. 

Fishing Bridges

ALL FLORIDA KEYS FISHING BRIDGES ARE CLOSED TO FISHING. They are still open from running, walking, etc. 

Boat Ramps

ALL PUBLIC BOAT RAMPS ARE CLOSED TO VISITORS.

Coronavirus in the Florida Keys?

There is one travel-related confirmed case in the Upper Keys according to the Florida Dept. of Health. Testing continues throughout the county at the discretion of a doctor or healthcare professional. (Woman, 72)

We are awaiting confirmation from the Florida Dept. of Health on the second case.

Visitor/Hotel Questions

Monroe County is closed to all tourists and leisure visitors. Lodging establishments are no longer accepting reservations until further notice. All hotels, short term vacation rentals, and other transient rentals like marinas, RV parks, and timeshares cannot be rented to tourists for 14 days, this can be extended. 

Extensions of current reservations are not allowed.

The ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County. There are no restrictions for homeowners and second homeowners who have houses in the Florida Keys. Link to the directive - it is also on the website at www.monroecountyem.com/covid-19

https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/23070/Emergency-Directive-20-02

Reentry Sticker

YOU DO NOT NEED A REENTRY STICKER AT THIS TIME. SHERIFF SUBSTATIONS WHERE THEY CAN NORMALLY BE PICKED UP ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.

Non-compliance 

Vacation Rentals

To report short term vacation rentals who have not complied with the emergency directive regarding short term rentals, please call the Tax Collector’s Transient Rental Hotline at 855-422-4540. The Tax Collector’s office will be following up with the non-compliance of the directive throughout Monroe County.

Remember, the ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County. 

Non-Essential Businesses Being Open

This takes place at 5 p.m. today only in the City of Key West.

RV

The County has confirmed that there are available and open RV parks throughout the State of Florida that are currently accepting reservations. (RVtogo.com is one resource.)

Restaurants/Bars

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida, including the State Directive regarding restaurants and bars. Here is the link to report non-compliance: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/eo-complaints/

Executive Order 20-71: this Executive Order directs all restaurants and food establishments within the state to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. The order also requires the closure of all gyms throughout the state.

Executive Order 20-72: this Executive Order prohibits medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgeries

CHI DRIVE IN TESTING

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) will begin Coronavirus COVID-19 testing in Monroe County on Monday, March 23, 2020. Testing will be conducted via a drive-through at the Marathon Community Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Testing will only be for Monroe County residents who meet the criteria for testing. They have recently traveled to any of the affected countries or have been in contact with someone who has the COVID-19. (Patients may be asked for objective evidence of travel or a Department of Health notification of a direct COVID-19 patient contact. This is to ensure that only the appropriate people get tested. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.  Those with severe symptoms should go to the emergency department.

Patients should call first for a phone screening at 305-252-4820 before coming to get tested.

Hotlines

Florida Dept. of Health 866-779-6121 (24 Hours)

Monroe County 800-955-5504

Non-Emergency Sheriff’s Office

Do not call 911 or the Communications Center non-emergency phone line for COVID-19 related questions. 911 is strictly for emergencies only. Non-emergency lines are open.

  • Plantation Key, 50 High Point Road, 305-853-3211

Important Websites

Beaches, Boat Ramps, Parks, and Museums

Monroe County

Monroe County-owned parks and beaches are still open. Playgrounds are being sanitized twice daily until further notice. Users must follow the directive of the State that says all congregating must be done in small groups of less than 10 people. Law enforcement is doing regular patrolling of all areas.

Islamorada

Village Parks are closed to the public with the exception of open spaces at Founders Park. The Founders Park Aquatic Center and dog park are closed. Founders Park Facilities such as basketball court, tennis courts, pickleball courts, fields and walking trails and may be used by individuals and small groups. The dog park is closed. All beaches and other Village parks including Anne's Beach and Library Park Beach are completely closed. All restroom facilities at parks and beaches are closed. Islamorada Founders Park programs and classes are cancelled until further notice.

The area known as the Fills from MM 77.5 to 79.8 and the boat ramp at Indian Key Fill are closed. Founder’s Park Boat Ramp is closed. 

State Parks

All State Parks are closed in the Florida Keys to the public: Bahia Honda State Park, Curry Hammock State Park, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Long Key State Park.

Restaurants, Bars, and Nightclubs

State of Florida Office of the Governor Executive Order

Per the Governor’s order – all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers. The listed establishments may, however, operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services.

Court, Courthouses, Tax Collector & Clerk of Court

Monroe County Tax Collector 

Offices are closed to public walk-in services for the next 30 days. 

The office will continue to perform the statutory duties and serve the public via online services and phones during normal business hours. All normal Tax Collector operations, except Driver License testing, and Concealed Weapons will continue either by phone, email, or online. Drop boxes will be provided to each office.

www.monroetaxcollector.com

(305) 852-7150 Plantation 

(305) 853-3562 Key Largo Drive License Office.

Monroe County Courthouses

Courthouses are closed to the general public. Some proceedings can continue electronically -- telephones, video conferencing -- through April 17. 

Jury trials are and selection are suspended at least until March 27. 

Monroe County Clerk of Courts 

Clerk is closed to public walk-in services to all three offices for the next 30 days. This directive will be reassessed in two weeks.

All normal Clerk operations, except for marriage licenses and ceremonies, will continue uninterrupted. Those members of the public wishing to conduct other business at our offices may continue to do so. Drop boxes for documents will be provided in our outer lobbies.

Utilities

Keys Energy Services (KEYS) 

Keys Energy has suspended in-person services at its Customer Services center and field crews will begin implementing enhanced social distancing procedures with customers. KEYS operating hours will remain unaffected by these changes. 

KeysEnergy.com: Utility bill payments, service connection/disconnection/transfers, and Customer Service requests can all be completed online. Customers may also email at Web.Accounts@KeysEnergy.com or call 305-295-1000 with any questions or requests, M- Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Utility bill payments can also be made by: phone at 305-295-1000, via drop box at 1001 James Street in Key West or in front of the Shops of Ships Way in Big Pine Key, by mail to Keys Energy Services, P.O. Box 279038, Miramar, FL 33027, or via electronic debit automatically deducted from your checking/savings account or credit/debit card monthly. There are no current plans to alter billing practices. Customers experiencing hardships should contact KEYS’ Customers Services at 305-295-1000 or via email at Web.Accounts@KeysEnergy.com to make the necessary arrangements. 

Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority

Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority suspended in-person services at its three customer service offices. The Authority is also suspending in-person services with customers in the field. The drive-through window at our Tavernier Customer Service Office will remain open. There are no issues regarding water in the Florida Keys.Customers can manage their account at www.fkaa.com for payments, monitoring consumption, applying for meter installations. Drop boxes are also at the three customer service offices and on Ships Way in Big Pine Key. Call 305-296-2454 with any questions.

Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District

KLWTD will remain open, but as a precaution for the community and staff, but is limiting the number of customers permitted to conduct business in the administrative office. Customers needing assistance are encouraged to do so by telephone or e-mail. The doors will remain locked during regular business hours, but customers will be permitted to enter on a case by case basis. If documents need to be submitted, an electronic version is preferred. Call 305-451-4019 or email customerservice@klwtd.com for questions, concerns or to schedule an inspection. 

Hospitals and Private Care Facilities

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.

Hospital Contact Info

Mariner’s and Fishermen’s Hospital (Baptist Health Care)

Phone: 305-434-3000

For Mariner’s and Fishermen’s Hospital: It is advised that you stay home and see a doctor remotely. If you are experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and could be exposed to Covid-19 use Baptist Health Care On Demand app to see the doctor. The app “Baptist Health Care on Demand” is available for download on the app store and Google play. Use the code CARE19 and wait for the doctor to talk to the doctor. The hospital says it takes a week to get the results.

Do We Have Enough Supplies

Florida Dept of Emergency Management has requested the following supplies through Direct Federal Assistance. Supplies are being delivered on a rolling basis, and inventory is being distributed throughout the state 24 hours a day.

  • 5 mobile intensive care units
  • 5,000 ventilators
  • 5,000 hospital beds
  • 50,000 two oz. bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 250,000 coveralls
  • 500,000 gloves
  • 500,000 gowns
  • 500,000 collection kits
  • 100,000 16 oz. bottles of hand sanitizers
  • 150,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits, including coveralls, gowns, and goggles   
  • 2 million N95 face masks

Interfacility Transfers

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 to protect future patients.

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 you meet the testing criteria, a sample will be collected at the discretion of a medical provider.

Testing

State Dept. of Health Breakdown by County -https://floridahealthcovid19.gov

Under “Review case, monitoring and PUI information on the latest COVID-19 Daily Report”  Click “See the Report.” This report is update twice per day

The DOH is following CDC guidelines for testing. More information is at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00429.asp

To view the breakdown of confirmed counties, visit www.floridahealth.gov/covid-19.

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. 

CHI DRIVE IN TESTING

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) will begin Coronavirus COVID-19 testing in Monroe County on Monday, March 23, 2020. Testing will be conducted via a drive-through at the Marathon Community Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Testing will only be for Monroe County residents who meet the criteria for testing. They have recently traveled to any of the affected countries or have been in contact with someone who has the COVID-19. (Patients may be asked for objective evidence of travel or a Department of Health notification of a direct COVID-19 patient contact. This is to ensure that only the appropriate people get tested. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.  Those with severe symptoms should go to the emergency department.

Patients should call first for a phone screening at 305-252-4820 before coming to get tested.

Monroe County Jails 

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention center has virtual visitation options available for inmates:www.keysso.net.

Q: Do you have the ability to test prisoners and personnel? Where will the tests be sent, and when will the results be available?

A: Yes, our contracted medical partner is Wellpath. They only treat inmates. They currently partner with the Department of Health to have inmates tested here at the facility. Test results should be provided to us within 48 hours.

Q: What is the protocol if a prisoner tests positive for COVID-19?

A: The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections has two cells that are negative air pressure rooms. These cells are used to contain airborne contaminants within the cell. This way the harmful airborne pathogens are not spread throughout the facility. These cells can house multiple inmates at one time.

Q: How will you protect other prisoners and personnel from catching the virus?

A: First and foremost, we will continue to educate both inmates and staff on washing hands, touching your face, etc. The inmates have an opportunity to see medical personnel at least twice a day and can put in for sick call for a more thorough evaluation. All new detainees will be screened to include questions about past travel to Iran, Italy, South Korea, China and so on. Temperatures and Oxygen Saturation levels of new detainees will also be measured. If new detainees have these symptoms proper measures will be taken immediately to identify if they do indeed have the COVID-19 virus. The jail has tripled the cleaning of well-traveled areas and housing areas. Personnel will be encouraged to stay home when sick and seek treatment from their own doctor if they display one or more symptoms.

Q: Do you have protective supplies for prisoners and personnel — masks, gloves, etc.?

A: Yes, we have all protective supplies or as we refer to them, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). We have all the PPEs needed at this time as we stay prepared for situations of this nature. Additional supplies have been ordered to be on the safe side.

Q: Are you communicating with other law enforcement agencies about “best practices”?

A: Yes, being a Nationally Accredited agency we have been in contact with the American Correctional Association. They have presented precautionary measures along with recommendations on what they believe is best practices for prevention. The Florida Sheriff’s Association has also been providing guidance and open to dialogue when needed. We also work very closely with our South Florida partners. We have shared ideas and information which will we continue to do.

Schools

Monroe County School District

The Monroe County School Board has canceled classes for students until April 15. Virtual learning details can be found at www.keysschools.com.

Free Kids Lunches

FREE grab and go breakfast and lunch starting March 23 during the school closure. Meal service time is 11 am to noon Monday through Friday. Distribution points in the Upper Keys are Key Largo School, Coral Shores High School. Meals are available to all children 18 and younger. Child MUST be present to receive a meal.

The College of the Florida Keys

At The College of the Florida Keys, classes are 100 percent online. More information can be found at www.fkcc.edu.

Business

The Florida Department of Health has the following resource toolkit, where you can download and print flyers for your business or agency.  Visit:  https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/resources/#toolkitJump

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:www.sba.gov/disaster

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.

The State of FL has received an SBA Declaration. To check eligibility visit www.floridadisasterloan.org and https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The County is also looking into ways to increase financial and food support systems for those who may fall into tough times during the virus’ closures with local nonprofits and Monroe County Social Services. Social Services has ordered additional meals to support homebound services.

Nonprofits

Financial Assistance

Non-profits remain committed to seeking financial assistance from federal and state grant opportunities as they emerge. https://www.keysunitedway.org/communityresourceguide

All changes to social service agencies’ external operations will be outlined in the United Way’s Community Resource Guide (keysunitedway.org/resourceguide). The Resource Guide has a special section for services related to COVID-19.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is here to help. During this time of National Emergency while we “shelter in place”, it may be a bit more difficult to reach the suffering alcoholic. AA remains available to those who have, or think they may have a drinking problem. AA Hotline Number serving the Upper Keys is (305) 393-0857. We continue to meet in small groups and observe safe practices for the welfare of all. Other options are available for compromised or sheltered individuals. Additional information can be had at AA.org.

County Departments

County Permitting Department 

Monroe County offices are closed to the public until at least April 6 and will be reviewed continually. All essential services, like solid waste, social services, animal control, and emergency management, will continue to operate. County staff directory can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/directory

County Libraries

Libraries are closed until at least April 6. Drop boxes for returns are available. Books can be checked out virtually at www.keyslibraries.org

Monroe County Social Service

Suspended congregate meal sites and transitioned to “grab & go” options. Continuing to offer home delivered meals with the possibility to extend the program to more individuals should the need arise. Still operating MC transit.

Animal Services

Shelters will be closed to the public

  • Staff will continue to work their scheduled shifts at the shelter caring for the animals and responding to emergent animal control calls so they will be available at the shelter.
  • We will put out messaging that instructs individuals wishing to adopt a particular animal to call the shelter. We will interview them over the phone and schedule an adoption meet for an appropriate time. The community will be instructed to look on our website if they are interested in adopting and call for an adoption counseling session which will take place over the  phone or virtual meeting. (Many animals are currently in foster homes so we may schedule face to face adoption meets when this thing goes away)
  • Pet owners wishing to surrender a pet will be instructed to make an appointment by calling the shelter. If they just show up we will have them call the office line and we will instruct them to put the pet in the outside overnight holding area and complete the paperwork. The same will be done for individuals finding lost animals.
  • Pet owners reclaiming pets will be handled over the phone. We will make appointments for the reclaim of the pet and handle it appropriately. The reclaim will take place outside minimizing the interaction inside the shelter.

Veterans Affairs

  • Any veteran who shows symptoms should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for triage and instruction prior to coming to the medical center or clinics. The website can be found at: (http://www.visn8.va.gov/ccc.asp)
  • Clients in need of information, email addresses or other contact information can visit monroecounty-fl.gov/va and call Key West at 305-295-5150 or Key Largo at 305-453-8777.

Traveling Information

This is not a good time for anyone to be traveling. 

There are no protective actions to prevent people from entering or leaving the Keys at this time, but the Keys are closed to visitors. There are limited amenities available, the boat ramps are closed to visitors, the fishing bridges are closed. There are no restrictions for homeowners and second homeowners who have houses in the Florida Keys to come and go from the Keys. 

Citizens of some affected countries are prohibited to travel to the United States, according to government officials, please visit www.cdc.gov for the most updated travel information. 

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