The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 Updates 04/07/20

4/7/2020

The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 Updates 04/07/20

The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19. In an effort to keep Florida residents and visitors safe and aware regarding the status of the virus, the Florida Department of Health will issue this update every day, seven days per week.

Governor Ron DeSantis is in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the threat of COVID-19.

Today at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Governor DeSantis participated in a COVID-19 response meeting with Dr. Carlos Campo, MD, head of ICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Dr. Sunil Kumar, MD, Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine at Broward Health.

Recent actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19:

  • The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-06M providing guidance on the use of technology to help combat the spread of COVID-19, including encouraging insurers to broaden access to care for telehealth services, and requesting Pharmacy Benefit Managers to transition to an electronic audit process in order to avoid unnecessary risk and maintain social distancing.
  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-05M reminding insurers of applicable statutes regarding workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurers are expected to comply with all of the provisions of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is working with all Florida Law Enforcement on obtaining updated personal protection equipment (PPE) needs.
  • CareerSource Florida has launched an integrated public and business outreach campaign, Help is Here, as a comprehensive resource for employment and business services available to Floridians affected by COVID-19-related job loss.
  • To respond to COVID-19, the Division has coordinated an unprecedented statewide response. This includes sending out critical PPE for our first responders and health care workers:
    • 2.8 million masks, including N95, procedure and surgical masks;
    • 218,000 face shields;
    • 3.9 million gloves; and
    • 157,000 gowns.

Additional actions the state has taken to respond to COVID-19:

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida.
  • Governor DeSantis announced that the State ordered an additional 2,500 test kits to supplement the adequate resources already available to test for COVID-19. These additional test kits will enable the Department of Health, working with Florida health care providers, to test up to an additional 625,000 individuals. The Governor also suspended non-essential in state and all out-of-state travel for state employees for 30 days.
  • Established a public call center for questions regarding COVID-19. The call center launched Monday, March 2 and is open 24/7.
  • Established mechanisms for monitoring and coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding epidemiological activities.
  • Distributed CDC Interim Guidance for public health personnel evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases at their home or non-home residential settings to CHDs.
  • Approved and disseminated an updated Clinician Screening Tool for identifying COVID-19 PUIs.
  • Implemented testing at all three State Public Health Laboratories.
  • Distributed updated laboratory guidance regarding implementation of testing at State Public Health Laboratories.
  • Implemented private lab testing.
  • Developed and disseminated pandemic planning guidance. 
  • Advised CHDs and HCCs to retain expired personal protective equipment until further until further notice.

FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

  • To respond to COVID-19, the Division has coordinated an unprecedented statewide response. This includes sending out critical PPE for our first responders and health care workers:
    • 2.8 million masks, including N95, procedure and surgical masks;
    • 218,000 face shields;
    • 3.9 million gloves; and
    • 157,000 gowns.
  • Find more information on DEM’s response to COVID-19 here

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • The Agency has created new temporary Personal Care Attendant program to help long-term care facilities fill staffing shortages. The program provides an 8-hour training on assisting with direct care so that personal care attendants can temporarily perform additional duties.
  • AHCA has been working with the Department of Children and Families to ensure current Medicaid recipients maintain benefits during the state of emergency. Medicaid application deadlines have also been extended.
  • AHCA has made on-site visits to over 900 long-term care and residential facilities since the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. Additionally, AHCA has made over 2,000 telephone calls to residential providers statewide to assess infection control and prevention strategies, ensure county health department and local emergency operations center contact information are up to date, and assess supplies (specifically PPE).
  • Find more information on ACHA’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

  • DBPR has updated its dedicated compliance complaint form to include an option for reporting vacation rental compliance concerns. The Department’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants continues to monitor, review, and assign complaints received through this form for follow-up by division inspectors.
  • Find more information on DBPR’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • DCF has worked with DOH to develop precautionary protocols for child welfare professionals and adult protective investigators who may have to make in-person visits to ensure the safety of those vulnerable populations.
  • Under Governor DeSantis’ direction, DCF has temporarily increased SNAP recipients’ benefit amount to the maximum monthly allotment based on household size.
  • Find more information on DCF’s response to COVID-19 here

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • FDOE has compiled resources, information, and best practices for distance learning on its emergency response page.
  • The Florida Virtual School has created the Online Learning Community with engaging and informative content for teachers and parents of K-12 students.
  • Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran has recommended that all Florida public and private K-12 school campuses extend campus closures through May 1, 2020, following White House guidance and the CDC’s extension of social distancing guidelines until April 30th.
  • Find more information on The Department of Education’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS

  • DOEA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has worked with the AARP Foundation, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, to extend emergency paid leave for SCSEP participants for an additional two weeks as the safety and health of participants and staff requires the continued temporary closure of host sites.
  • DOEA provided population poverty data by age group to assist Planning and Service Area (PSA) 9 as they develop an 8-week forecasted meal demand model.
  • DOEA conducted research to compile the steps and costs necessary to create an interactive map structure that could be modified by Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)s as more restaurants continue participating in the Meal Partnership Initiative.
  • DOEA trained department staff to conduct client and waitlist location address validation, to assist the AAAs and providers with correcting CIRTS (both for COVID-19 response and hurricane preparedness).
  • Find more information on DOEA’s COVID-19 response here.

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • Effective March 23, DEP has closed all Florida State Parks to the public. Park field staff are on site to maintain grounds.
  • Effective March 24, public access to lands within DEP’s Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas is closed. This includes state-owned uplands, such as beaches, islands, sand bars and emergent shoals within aquatic preserves. Vessel landings are strictly prohibited. 
  • Find more information on DEP’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

  • The Florida Highway Patrol is assisting with the implementation and enforcement of Executive Order 20-86 at the direction of Governor DeSantis.
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has issued an Emergency Order extending all Florida driver licenses, commercial driver licenses and identification cards that will expire now through April 15, 2020.
  • Pursuant to Executive Order 20-52 issued by Governor DeSantis, FLHSMV Executive Director Rhodes has waived commercial truck hours of service regulations and other related regulations so that emergency supplies, equipment, commodities and resources can be moved more quickly and efficiently throughout the state.
  • Find more information on FLHSMV’s COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-06M providing guidance on the use of technology to help combat the spread of COVID-19, including encouraging insurers to broaden access to care for telehealth services, and requesting Pharmacy Benefit Managers to transition to an electronic audit process in order to avoid unnecessary risk and maintain social distancing.
  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-05M reminding insurers of applicable statutes regarding workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurers are expected to comply with all of the provisions of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-03M directing all insurers and other entities regulated by OIR to review and update their business continuity and/or continuity of operations plans. Companies are directed to immediately contact OIR if their continuity plans are activated and/or if business operations become compromised so it can work with insurers to avoid any disruption in consumer services.
  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-04M providing general guidance on the treatment of policyholders as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Floridians.
  • OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-02M as a reminder to all health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other health entities to allow for early prescription refills.
  • Find more information on OIR’s COVID-19 response here

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has suspended visitation at all state-operated juvenile detention centers and juvenile residential commitment programs until April 15, 2020.
  • DJJ has also instituted additional screening measures for outside vendors who work within juvenile facilities.
  • Find more information on DJJ’s COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • FDLE is working with all Florida Law Enforcement on obtaining updated PPE needs.
  • FDLE and FHP continue to facilitate the escort of testing collection kits statewide.
  • FDLE and ESF-16 partners are working with the Florida Sheriffs Association to provide support for FHP at the I-95 screening point.
  • Find more information on FDLE’s COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA LOTTERY

  • Effective March 23, Florida Lottery Headquarters and district offices are closed to the public until further notice  
  • Find more information on the Florida Lottery’s COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • DMS launched a dedicated telework webpage (telework.fl.gov) to provide resources and tutorials for employees and employers operating in a remote work environment.
  • At the Governor’s direction, DMS Secretary Jonathan Satter issued an emergency order to ensure federal benefits granted through The Families First Coronavirus Response Act are available to employees.
  • As directed in Executive Order 20-52, DMS has amended the state employee health plan benefits plan documents to expand covered telehealth benefits at no additional employee cost.
  • Also directed in Executive Order 20-52, DMS has amended the state employee health plan benefits plan documents to cover immunizations at participating in-network retail pharmacies at no cost to the member during this public health emergency.
  • Find more information on DMS’ COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

  • As of April 7, approximately 2,325 Florida National Guardsmen are currently deployed to support Florida’s response to COVID-19.
  • The Florida National Guard (FLNG) continues to support the state's COVID-19 response through operational support of Community Based Testing Sites (CBTS), augmentation to airport screening measures, statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of over 24,642 individuals for the COVID-19 virus. 
  • Find more information on DMA’s response to COVID-19 here.

AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • APD has posted information important to its customers, providers, and Waiver Support Coordinators on the agency’s website.
  • Find more information on APD’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • The Department of Revenue has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for tax-related questions and information.
  • The Department also has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for child support customers and alternative options for handling many child support case activities without visiting an office.
  • Find more information on DOR’s response to COVID-19 here.

CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA

  • CareerSource Florida launched an integrated public and business outreach campaign, Help is Here, as a comprehensive resource for employment and business services available to Floridians affected by COVID-19-related job loss.
  • On April 6, CareerSource Florida launched an updated COVID-19 landing and outreach page as a comprehensive resource for employment and business services available to impacted Floridians.
  • Find more information on CareerSource Florida’s response to COVID-19 here.

STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF FLORIDA

  • The SUS has directed all state universities to continue remote instruction through the end of the spring semester.
  • The SUS has directed that traditional on-campus commencement ceremonies will not be held in May. Instead, each university is directed to develop an alternate schedule or method of delivery.
  • Find more information on SUS’ response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

  • On April 6, Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced the issuance of an emergency order and emergency rules to extend annual report filing deadlines for business entities, as well as outline changes to the candidate petition and candidate qualifying processes.
  • Find more information on the Florida Department of State’s Response to COVID-19 here

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • FDOT is leading the coordination of DOH and the Florida Highway Patrol to implement Executive Order 20-86. To date, more than 3,700 traveler forms have been collected at the I-10 and I-95 checkpoints.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with seaports across the state to monitor port activity.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with public use airports, DOH and law enforcement to implement Executive Order 20-80. To date, more than 11,100 traveler forms have been collected at public use airports across the state.
  • Find more information on FDOT’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS 

  • FDVA has restricted visitor access to its state veterans’ homes until further notice, with the exception of essential visitors. In addition, admissions in our network of state veterans’ homes are temporarily suspended.
  • Veterans who are concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19, flu or the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center before coming to a VA facility. Clinicians are available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.
  • To contact a teleworking FDVA Veterans’ Claims Examiner, call (727) 319-7440 or email VSO@fdva.state.fl.us.
  • Find more information on FDVA’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

  • The FWC continues to be in close communication with the Governor’s Office, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the most recent COVID-19 status and guidance.
  • Find more information on FWC’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION

  • As the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) continues to be committed to the health and well-being of all Floridians, we have compiled a list of resources with relevant information for homeowners, residents, developers, apartment owners, management companies, participating lenders, Realtors and SHIP administrators regarding COVID-19.
  • Find more information on Florida Housing’s response to COVID-19 here.

VISIT FLORIDA

  • VISIT FLORIDA’s four welcome centers are closed until further notice. Sixteen VISIT FLORIDA welcome center staff members have been trained to provide customer service support for the Department of Economic Opportunity and are assisting with the influx of inquiries and calls from impacted businesses and workers throughout the state.
  • Find more information on VISIT FLORIDA’s response to COVID-19 here.

VOLUNTEER FLORIDA

  • As the lead agency for volunteerism and service, Volunteer Florida is working to support voluntary organizations across the state and nation by sharing resources, surveying needs and requesting that continuity of operations plans be created to avoid any service delivery disruption.
  • Find more information on Volunteer Florida’s response to COVID-19 here.
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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