Florida COVID-19 Update: Essential Employees, Latest Numbers, More Testing, Possible Increased Restrictions

Essential Employees During COVID-19 Restrictions

Although Florida has not issued a lockdown for COVID-19, the St. Pete mayor has been calling for one and Tampa just announced one is coming. So, if Florida or your local area issues such an order, as many states have done, what are the rules regarding essential employees? The Department of Homeland Security’s has issued guidance explaining what industries and their employees are essential. These include healthcare and public health employees, which encompasses caregivers, nurses, and social workers.

Therefore, the services EasyLiving provides are considered essential and can continue under any lockdown orders. We will be able to continue providing care to seniors who need it most to the best of our ability/capacity. As we have noted before, we may face service interruptions and challenges if employees become ill or as they need to care for children and other family members with schools and other support services shutdown. We continue working with clients on contingency plans and our team is working around the clock to keep everyone well cared for, safe, and healthy. Read more about the ways we can help.

**Florida Governor DeSantis today said the state will issue an advisory that all people aged 65+ (and those with pre-existing conditions) should stay at home. When this goes into effect. we will continue providing services and can even ramp up help for those who should now be staying home. We are pleased that we can be a resource during this time to support elders to stay safe at home as always, but especially with the pandemic situation and associated restrictions.

Florida COVID-19 Statistics

The Florida Department of Health press release for Tuesday, March 24th announced 1,147 positive cases in Florida residents (400 confirmed by DOH, 747 tested by private labs) and 80 positive cases in non-Florida residents. There had been 17 Florida resident deaths as of this release. More detail about the cases can be found here. You can visit the DOH live Florida COVID-19 dashboard for the latest information.

Understanding Social Distancing and “Flattening the Curve”

Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people and minimizing interactions to avoid spreading illness. The idea is to slow the spread of the virus so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time, thus what’s called “flattening the curve”. With such a pandemic the curve (or # of cases) rises quickly if there is no intervention. Here is a useful article explaining the science behind this concept.

Local Resources in Tampa Bay, Florida for COVID-19

Baycare has a COVID-19 self-screening tool on their website to help you determine the next steps in seeking care for suspected symptoms. They’ve screened over 6,500 patients for COVID-19 and tested more than 3,700 patients.

COVID-19 Testing

BayCare’s Urgent Care sites are offering drive-through COVID-19 testing here: Haines City, New Port Richey, Carillon and our MLK office. You need to be screened by a medical professional and referred first. The drive-through hours are currently between 9 a.m. and noon. The COVID-19 tests are sent to national commercial labs such as Quest and LabCorp and are taking approximately six to eight days for us to get the results back.

The state also announced it will begin randomly testing asymptomatic residents in long-term care facilities. For this and other Florida COVID-19 stories, check out HealthNews Florida’s newsletter from today.

You can read more about local testing sites, telehealth resources and previous updates here.

We promise to keep you updated on Florida coronavirus news, especially as it applies to healthcare and eldercare. Our team is working around-the-clock to support our clients to stay safe and healthy, as well as to keep you informed and keep our staff safe. Please follow this blog by inputting your email address at the top of the right column and hitting “sign up”. You will be notified of our latest updates by email.

Have concerns? Want to talk to someone about how to keep your loved one safe at home or in a care facility? Are you working at home, taking care of kids and trying to care for an aging relative? Contact us today (or call 727-447-5845 or 813-333-5020) for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and find resources.