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The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 Updates

July 24, 2020

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Contact: Joint Information Center on COVID-19 for the State of Florida (850) 815-4940, ESF14@em.myflorida.com


The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 Updates

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  The State of Florida is responding to COVID-19. As of Friday, June 5, the state has moved into Phase 2 of Florida’s reopening plan. The Florida Department of Health will now issue this update once per week. However, DOH will continue to update the COVID-19 dashboard and post the state report daily.

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.

This week, Governor DeSantis delivered an address to Floridians regarding the state’s plans for the upcoming school year and COVID-19. The full address is available here.

  • The Governor stated in his address, “I believe we owe every Florida parent a choice to send your child back to school for in-person instruction, or to opt to maintain distance learning. We support you and want you to feel safe.”

Governor DeSantis joined OneBlood to encourage individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood, which will expand access to convalescent plasma therapy for those still fighting the virus. More information is available here.

Governor DeSantis hosted a roundtable discussion with Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew and physicians and health care leaders from the Florida Hospital Association, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and AdventHealth. With 70% of hospitals in Florida being represented, the discussion focused on the status of our state’s hospital system and the ongoing efforts to protect vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities from COVID-19. The roundtable is available here.

On Thursday, Governor DeSantis announced that Florida has secured nearly an additional 11,000 vials of Remdesivir treatment to be sent to Florida hospitals. With this new shipment, more than 60,000 vials of Remdesivir have been provided to hospitals over the past few weeks.

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

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

  • This week, the Florida Department of Health issued an additional Public Health Advisory in response to COVID-19, providing recommendations to protect Floridians and visitors from this virus. Find the full Public Health Advisory here.
  • The Florida Department of Health continues to update the Florida Health COVID-19 website. This week, DOH launched FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov/testing-sites which includes an interactive map displaying current COVID-19 testing sites, hours of operations and type of testing conducted.
  • This week, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) expanded separate, observed self-swab lanes to symptomatic individuals to additional four state-supported drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. More information is available here. The sites now offering separate, self-swab lanes include:
    • CenturyLink Sports Complex (Lee County)
    • Miami Beach Convention Center (Miami-Dade County)
    • Marlins Park (Miami-Dade County)
    • University Town Center (Sarasota County)
  • This week, FDEM completed Phase 1 of initial disbursements in CARES Act funding to counties with a population of less than 500,000. To date, the Division has disbursed $318,821,445 to 55 counties. More information about CARES Act funding is available here.
  • Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the Division continues to deploy additional staff to hospitals responding to COVID-19 across the state. To date, 1,293 nurses have been deployed to support hospitals statewide.
  • This week, FDEM announced that the state will be creating an additional seven COVID-19 testing sites through a partnership with Target. Friday, July 24, two of these sites opened in Clay and Nassau counties. More information is available here.
  • This week, FDEM worked with the federal government to establish five temporary drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. These sites will be operational until Sunday, August 2. More information is available here.
  • This week, the Division partnered with the Florida Department of Health and Miami-Dade County to provide 400 additional hotel rooms, free of cost, to Miami-Dade County residents, including critical health care personnel, who have tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available in a Miami-Dade County press release here.
  • To date, the Division has sent the following PPE to support health care workers and first responders:
    • More than 52 million masks
    • More than 15.2 million gloves
    • Nearly 2 million face shields
    • More than 1.1 million shoe covers
    • More than 4.8 million gowns
    • More than 106 thousand goggles
    • More than 71 thousand coveralls
  • To date, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has made more than 4,200 onsite visits to facilities and more than 42,200 telephone calls to residential providers statewide to provide support and determine emergent needs of facilities.
  • Governor DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which allowed the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to issue more than $662 million in benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures. 
  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is expanding COVID-19 testing at institutions when indicated by a positive case. More than 30,000 inmates have been tested.
  • The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) Restaurant Meal Initiative has served over 1,365,000 in partnership with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association with delivery through the Department’s 11 Area Agencies on Aging.
  • DOEA’s Aging Network has provided over 7.1 million meals since March through both the restaurant meal initiative and an increase in deliveries through traditional meal providers.
  • DOEA is providing an average of over 35,000 telephone reassurance calls to older adults throughout the state each month.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to implement their phased reopening of the Florida State Parks. As these parks are reopening, DEP is taking measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During this phase of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.
  • Since March 1, 2020, Floridians have conducted over 2 million motor vehicle and credential transactions virtually through the department’s online services webpage: com. FLHSMV encourages Floridians who can, to complete their driver license or motor vehicle transactions online, rather than in person at a driver license office.
  • Approximately 1,471 Florida National Guardsmen (FLNG) are mobilized to support Florida’s response to COVID-19.
  • FLNG has expanded its support to mobile testing teams and the community-based and walk-up test sites. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 905,880 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) deactivated the checkpoint for screening travelers seeking to enter Florida on I-95 at the Florida/Georgia state line. Upon deactivation, more than 48,000 traveler forms had been collected at the I-95 checkpoint.
  • VISIT FLORIDA’s welcome centers along Interstate 95 near Jacksonville, Interstate 10 near Pensacola, and Interstate 75 near Lake City are open to provide incoming travelers the latest public health, travel and safety information. The welcome centers are operating with sanitization and social distancing measures recommended by public health officials. Nearly a half-million face masks have been provided by DOH and FDEM and are being made available to visitors.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • This week, the Florida Department of Health issued an additional Public Health Advisory in response to COVID-19, providing recommendations to protect Floridians and visitors from this virus. Find the full Public Health Advisory here.
  • The Florida Department of Health continues to update the Florida Health COVID-19 website. This week, DOH launched FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov/testing-sites which includes an interactive map displaying current COVID-19 testing sites, hours of operations and type of testing conducted.
  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) continues to update the Florida COVID-19 Response page. This week, DOH updated the Frequently Asked Questions page to include topics such as COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and more information regarding the virus. The FAQ page is available here.
  • DOH has posted a list of Agency for Persons with Disabilities Licensed Group Homes with positive COVID-19 cases. This report will be updated weekly and is available here.
  • DOH reminded all Floridians to protect the vulnerable by avoiding the Three Cs: Closed Spaces, Crowded Places and Close-Contact Settings and by wearing a mask in public:
    • Closed Spaces. Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation that could allow contagious droplets to linger in the air.
    • Crowded Places. Avoid crowded places with many people nearby; the greater the number of individuals in an area, the greater the chances of COVID-19 spreading from person-to-person.
    • Close-Contact Settings. Avoid close-range conversations and stay at least six-feet from others.
  • To date, DOH has reported more than 1,600 contact tracers who are assisting with COVID-19 efforts across the state.
  • DOH announced that the list of long-term care facilities in Florida associated with COVID-19 cases will now include active cases in each facility in order to provide real-time data. The list of long-term care facilities with active COVID-19 cases is available here
  • DOH is providing a report detailing surveillance data for every Florida county. Previously, this information was only available for select communities. The surveillance data report is available here.
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida.
  • DOH established a public call center for questions regarding COVID-19. The call center launched Monday, March 2, and is open 24/7.
  • In an effort to increase testing, Governor DeSantis has directed Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees on an emergency temporary basis to allow licensed pharmacists in Florida to order and administer COVID-19 tests.
  • DOH is working with Florida’s Board of Pharmacy and Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation on mobile pharmacy compliance guidance.
  • More information on DOH’s COVID-19 response is available here.

FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

  • This week, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) expanded separate, observed self-swab lanes to symptomatic individuals to additional four state-supported drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. More information is available here. The sites now offering separate, self-swab lanes include:
    • CenturyLink Sports Complex (Lee County)
    • Miami Beach Convention Center (Miami-Dade County)
    • Marlins Park (Miami-Dade County)
    • University Town Center (Sarasota County)
  • This week, FDEM completed Phase 1 of initial disbursements in CARES Act funding to counties with a population of less than 500,000. To date, the Division has disbursed $318,821,445 to 55 counties. More information about CARES Act funding is available here.
  • Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the Division continues to deploy additional staff to hospitals responding to COVID-19 across the state. To date, 1,082 nurses have been deployed to support hospitals statewide.
  • This week, FDEM announced that the state will be creating an additional seven COVID-19 testing sites through a partnership with Target. Friday, July 24, two of these sites opened in Clay and Nassau counties. More information is available here.
  • This week, FDEM worked with the federal government to establish five temporary drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. These sites will be operational until Sunday, August 2. More information is available here.
  • This week, the Division partnered with the Florida Department of Health and Miami-Dade County to provide 400 additional hotel rooms, free of cost, to Miami-Dade County residents, including critical health care personnel, who have tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available in a Miami-Dade County press release here.
  • To date, the Division has sent the following PPE to support health care workers and first responders:
    • More than 52 million masks
    • More than 15.2 million gloves
    • Nearly 2 million face shields
    • More than 1.1 million shoe covers
    • More than 4.8 million gowns
    • More than 106 thousand goggles
    • More than 71 thousand coveralls
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, the state currently supports 50 COVID-19 testing sites across the state, with the capacity to conduct up to 29,000 tests per day. The state continues to expand testing capacity, in addition to supporting county-run testing efforts, to ensure all Floridians can receive a COVID-19 test. To date, state-supported testing sites has conducted more than 750,000 tests. A list of state-supported testing sites can be found here.
  • Five state-supported drive-thru testing sites located in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Orange and Duval counties are offering free antibody testing to anyone over the age of 18. The sites offering antibody tests are available here.
  • Find more information on DEM’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • To date, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has made more than 4,200 onsite visits to facilities and more than 42,200 telephone calls to residential providers statewide to provide support and determine emergent needs of facilities.
  • AHCA added an additional tab to the Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard to reflect hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • On June 16, AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-4 and Emergency Rule 59AER20-5. These rules require nursing home and assisted living facility staff to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks with testing resources provided by the state and to submit test results to their employer/facility.
  • AHCA issued Emergency Order NO. 20-003 providing financial relief to nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities during the state’s public health emergency. The emergency order extends the deadlines for March and April 2020 Quality Assessment payments until June 15, 2020 for Intermediate Care Facilities, and June 20, 2020 for nursing homes.
  • AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-2 and Emergency Rule 59AER20-3. These rules require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to grant access to the Florida Department of Health or their authorized representative for the purpose infection prevention and control, including mandated COVID-19 testing of both on-duty and off-duty staff when arranged by the Department.
  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, AHCA issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-1 requiring hospitals to test all patients for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, prior to discharge to long-term care facilities.
  • AHCA sent out an email to nursing homes requiring the transfer of residents with verified or suspected cases if they cannot be appropriately isolated and adhere to the CDC recommendations for COVID-19 response.
  • AHCA issued a provider alert announcing additional flexibilities within the Medicaid program made at the direction of Governor DeSantis. Authorization requirements and services limits for medically necessary behavioral health care for are now waived.
  • AHCA created a 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 (DCF) to ensure current Medicaid recipients maintain benefits during the state of emergency. Medicaid application deadlines have also been extended.
  • Find more information on AHCA’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

  • DBPR issued Emergency Order 2020-09, effective June 26, 2020, that suspends the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises for all vendors licensed for such sale who derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises in accordance with Executive Order 20-71, Sections 1 and 2.
  • The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued Emergency Order 2020-08 which extends the deadlines for examination eligibility and licensure eligibility through December 31, 2020, for professional licenses regulated pursuant to Chapter 455, Florida Statutes, and the related professional practice acts. The Order supersedes section 4 of DBPR Emergency Order 2020-03, which had previously extended these deadlines through May 31, 2020.
  • DPBR has distributed Additional Information for Barbershops and Cosmetology Salons Pursuant to Executive Order 20-120 and FAQs for Executive Order 20-120 – Expanding Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery to provide additional information and guidelines for barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons.
  • Find more information on DBPR’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • Governor DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which allowed the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to issue more than $662 million in benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures. 
  • Per DCF’s request, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Florida’s waiver to permit the state to launch a pilot project that allows families to purchase groceries online with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card beginning April 21, 2020.
  • As part of her Hope for Healing Florida initiative, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that DCF will be receiving a $1.9 million emergency grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will provide crisis counseling and other mental health support for Floridians impacted by COVID-19.
  • DCF continues to work diligently with the Department of Health (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.
  • Find more information on DCF’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is expanding COVID-19 testing at institutions when indicated by a positive case. More than 30,000 inmates have been tested.
  • FDC has resumed modified volunteer activities at select institutions.
  • FDC has distributed cloth face coverings to all correctional officers and inmates at correctional institutions statewide.
  • FDC is closely aligned with the CDC Interim Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities.
  • New inmate commitments from county jails undergo additional screening and 14-day quarantine before placement within the general population.
  • FDC has suspended visitation at all correctional institutions statewide.
  • Find more information on FDC’s response to COVID-19 here. 

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

  • Governor Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to continue waiving the work search and work registration requirements for claimants through August 1, 2020. Additionally, the waiting week requirement will continue to be waived through August 1, 2020.
  • To comply with federal law, effective May 10, 2020, claimants for all Reemployment Assistance programs, including state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits or “claim their weeks.” In doing so, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that they are able and available for work should it be offered. For more information, click here. If claimants, currently receiving Reemployment Assistance benefits, no longer wish to receive benefits, they do not need to claim their weeks, as payments will stop processing if weeks stop being claimed.
  • DEO, in partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, launched a website to verify the identity of claimants who have been locked out of their CONNECT account, the online system for processing Reemployment Assistance claims. Individuals who were locked out of their CONNECT account have been notified and provided a direct link to verify their information so they can access their account.
  • DEO is administering the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The program is offered by the federal CARES Act and provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to a claimant who has exhausted Reemployment Assistance. For more information, please click here.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program is available. Eligibility includes independent contractors, gig workers and individuals who are self-employed. Working Floridians who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit org and select "File a Claim" to apply and be considered for PUA. Individuals may also call 1-833-FL-Apply (1-833-352-7759) for any questions they may have.
  • DEO continues to provide updates on the efforts made to address the challenges to Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program in response to COVID-19. This includes the State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard that is updated daily to reflect the total number of Reemployment Assistance Claims submitted, verified, processed and paid.
  • DEO announced more than 1,000 small businesses have been awarded more than $49 million from the Florida Small Emergency Bridge Loan program
  • The Business Damage Assessment survey is activated and continues to accept surveys to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations and determine the appropriate actions for recovery. Click here to access the survey.
  • Find more information on DEO’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • On June 11, the Florida Department of Education announced the full-reopening of Florida’s schools and CARES Act plan, visit here.
  • Florida Education Commissioner Corcoran issued Emergency Order 2020-06 - Further Guidance for Closing Achievement Gaps and Creating Safe Spaces for Learning that:
    • Ensures that Florida schools are open for in-person learning and in compliance with the many educationally important state and federal laws that ensure an equitable education for all types of learners, including our many at-risk students.  
    • Gave districts and schools flexibility to craft their own locally conceived plans, a request from districts, charters and private schools.
    • Gave districts and schools guidance and flexibility on how to compassionately maintain education for medically vulnerable students and families.
    • Guided that state and federally required services for at-risk students must meet the same high bars of quality set forth in law.
    • Created additional pathways for districts and schools to comply with state laws that numerous districts, charter schools and private schools asked for guidance on.
    • Provided districts, charters, privates and the many professionals that run schools the financial certainty that they will be supported as they support our students.
  • In order to receive the flexibility and continuity provided for in Emergency Order 2020-06, school districts must submit a reopening plan for review and approval that satisfies the requirements of the order. These plans are due to the Department of Education by July 31, and approved plans will be posted at www.fldoe.org/em-response.
  • Hosted multiple webinars providing guidance to Florida school districts, charter schools, private schools, and education stakeholders on plans to re-open. The recordings of the webinars can be found here.
  • Find more information on DOE’s response to COVID-19 here

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS

  • The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) Restaurant Meal Initiative has served over 1,365,000 in partnership with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association with delivery through the Department’s 11 Area Agencies on Aging.
  • DOEA’s Aging Network has provided over 7.1 million meals since March through both the restaurant meal initiative and an increase in deliveries through traditional meal providers.
  • DOEA is providing an average of over 35,000 telephone reassurance calls to older adults throughout the state each month.
  • Pursuant to Executive Order 20-52 issued by Governor DeSantis, the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) issued Emergency Order 20-01 on March 31 pertaining to in-person guardian visitation requirements where COVID-19 response and mitigation measures prevent such visits.
  • DOEA issued Guidance in furtherance of Order 20-01 on March 31 for Public and Professional Guardians to remain in compliance with Florida Statute 744.361(14).
  • DOEA has created a dedicated webpage to provide resources on COVID-19 including: tips for caregivers, information on closures of senior centers and adult day care centers, and alternative services for congregate meal sites.
  • Find more information on DOEA’s COVID-19 response here.

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA

  • Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) recently launched a Virtual Trade Shows Grant Program to allow companies to identify international clients and generate new export opportunities. Traditional international trade shows are being temporarily replaced by virtual events to promote safe worldwide business opportunities. For more information, please contact one of EFI’s Regional Trade Managers.  
  • EFI created a virtual trade grant program to help Florida companies do business overseas as international travel is restricted. Businesses interested in learning more about the new Virtual Business Matchmaking service should contact one of EFI’s Regional Trade Managers.  EFI recently expanded this program to engage Canada and Mexico.
  • EFI conducted regional calls with stakeholders across the state to identify ideas for long-range economic recovery.
  • EFI suspended initial fees for its Microfinance Loan Guarantee Program to support Florida’s small business community impacted by COVID-19. Interested businesses must apply through a local lender. For further information please contact your lender or visit Enterprise Florida’s website.
  • See resources compiled by EFI for businesses impacted by COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to implement their phased reopening of the Florida State Parks. As these parks are reopening, DEP is taking measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During this phase of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.
  • Areas of Florida State Parks managed by the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (ORCP) have been partially reopened, including remote access trails, beaches, and boat ramps at the Research Reserves. Islands, beaches, and submerged lands within the Aquatic Preserves are being reopened in accordance with local ordinances. See current information on ORCP-managed lands here.
  • Find more information on DEP’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

  • Since March 1, 2020, Floridians have conducted over 2 million motor vehicle and credential transactions virtually through the department’s online services webpage: com. FLHSMV encourages Floridians who can, to complete their driver license or motor vehicle transactions online, rather than in person at a driver license office.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol is assisting with the implementation and enforcement of Executive Order 20-86 at the direction of Governor DeSantis.
  • 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 issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-07M providing guidance to insurers on hurricane season preparedness and response. Insurers are advised to review and consider operational guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and encouraged to leverage technology to protect and best serve policyholders.
  • As part of its ongoing effort to keep policyholders informed, the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) published a list of resources to connect Florida policyholders with assistance being offered by insurers in response to COVID-19.
  • OIR 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 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 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 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 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 Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is resuming limited family visitation to facilities who have no active COVID-19 cases. Programs with COVID-19 cases remain under visitation restriction.
  • DJJ has instituted additional screening measures for essential personnel and vendors within juvenile facilities.
  • Find more information on DJJ’s COVID-19 response here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is working with DBPR and providing guidance for enforcing the closure of bars and 50 percent seating capacity limit for entertainment businesses.
  • FDLE is coordinating with the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association to test law enforcement exposed to mass gatherings for COVID-19.
  • FDLE is disseminating information on the hiring of former first responders to assist Florida Division of Emergency Management field operations.
  • FDLE is working with the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association on traffic assistance at testing/collection sites statewide.
  • FDLE continues to work with the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association to monitor law enforcement staffing impacts and staffing needs due to COVID-19.
  • 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

  • The Department of Management Services (DMS) launched a dedicated telework page with 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

  • Approximately 1,471 Florida National Guardsmen (FLNG) are mobilized to support Florida’s response to COVID-19.
  • FLNG has expanded its support to mobile testing teams and the community-based and walk-up test sites. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 905,880 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • FLNG continues to support the state's COVID-19 response through augmentation to airport screening measures, statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets.
  • Find more information on DMA’s response to COVID-19 here.

AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is now providing group-home specific COVID-19 test data to the Florida Department of Health as part of its weekly COVID-19 statewide update. This is in addition to the existing COVID-19 report published on APD’s website.
  • APD received eight pallets of cloth masks from the State Emergency Operations Center and will be distributing the masks to APD customers in supported living, group home residents and employees and to other providers to protect APD customers.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) sent out a Guidance Booklet to Providers and Waiver Support Coordinators recently to outline waiver changes and flexibilities as a result of COVID-19. It also included information on infection control measures and recommended actions when faced with various scenarios.
  • APD issued Emergency Order 20-03, which temporarily suspends face to face visits to administer the Questionnaire for Situational Information to determine the level of need of APD customers.
  • Find more information on APD’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • The Department of Revenue (DOR) has expanded its capacity for responding to child support customers who choose to handle their cases by email. The Department has also added a direct link to the email form for ease of access: floridarevenue.com/AskChildSupport. In addition to email, child support customers can contact the Child Support Program by webchat, fax, phone, or online using eServices.
  • DOR has issued an emergency order extending certain corporate income tax (CIT) due dates. For corporations with a fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2019, the due date for Florida CIT payments is extended to June 1, 2020. For corporations with fiscal years ending Dec. 31, 2019, Jan. 31, 2020, or Feb. 29, 2020, the due date for Florida CIT returns is extended to August 3, 2020. The due dates for Florida CIT payments for corporations with fiscal years ending Jan. 31 or Feb. 29, 2020, remain June 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020, respectively.
  • DOR has created a dedicated webpage for child support customers who have questions about the child support offset for Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. Under federal law, these payments are subject to federal offset for persons who owe past-due support.
  • DOR 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

  • The CareerSource Florida network has continued to provide employment and business services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now offers in-person assistance by appointment as well as a full range of career and business services virtually.
  • Free online career training and scholarships for training programs are available for Floridians interested in sharpening their skills or starting a new career. Please find your local team by visiting careersourceflorida.com/career-services/ or for a list of Florida’s local workforce development boards and their contact information, please click here.
  • The state workforce board and all 24 local workforce development boards are assisting with CONNECT PIN resets and processing Reemployment Assistance applications.
  • CareerSource Florida has launched an integrated public and business outreach campaign, Help is Here, a comprehensive resource for employment and business services.  

STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF FLORIDA

  • The State University System has directed all 12 state universities to develop alternate plans for summer commencement ceremonies, which include any rescheduled spring commencement plans that may have been postponed to summer.
  • The State University System Task Force has issued guidelines for reopening university campuses in the fall. Universities will present their individual plans based on these guidelines to the Board of Governors on June 23, 2020.
  • Find more information on SUS’ response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

  • Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-97, delaying elections in Pasco County at the request of Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.
  • 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

  • In accordance with Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) deactivated the checkpoint for screening travelers seeking to enter Florida on I-10 at the Florida/Alabama state line. Upon deactivation, nearly 28,000 traveler forms had been collected at the I-10 checkpoint.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) deactivated the checkpoint for screening travelers seeking to enter Florida on I-95 at the Florida/Georgia state line. Upon deactivation, more than 48,000 traveler forms had been collected at the I-95 checkpoint.
  • Governor DeSantis and FDOT Secretary Thibault announced the opening of five new Interstate 4 (I-4)/State Road (S.R.) 408 flyover ramps. This work was completed more than three months ahead of schedule and increases safety and mobility in the heart of Florida.
  • Due to continued lower traffic volumes as a result of COVID-19, FDOT expedited more than 40 additional critical transportation projects by at least 650 total contract days, while also providing essential jobs to Floridians. Find more information about FDOT’s accelerated projects here.
  • FDOT Secretary Thibault and staff joined the Florida Trucking Association and the Florida Highway Patrol to hand out 500 meals to Florida’s truck drivers.
  • FDOT continues to coordinate with seaports across the state to monitor port activity.
  • Find more information on FDOT’s response to COVID-19 here.  

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS 

  • For 24-hour counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Veterans in Florida may also call the Florida Veterans Support Lineat 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) or 2-1-1.
  • To contact a teleworking FDVA Veterans’ Claims Examiner, call (727) 319-7440 or email VSO@fdva.state.fl.us
  • Veterans who are concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19, flu or cold should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center toll free at (877) 741-3400 before coming to a VA facility. Clinicians are available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.
  • The 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.
  • Find more information on FDVA’s response to COVID-19 here.

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (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

  • The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) is administering $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here. 
  • Florida Housing issued an Emergency Rule to property owners and managers to suspend rent increases during this public health emergency on properties funded by Florida Housing. Those who choose to implement rent increases that impact residents during this global pandemic could result in consequences for future funding opportunities with Florida Housing.
  • As 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 welcome centers along Interstate 95 near Jacksonville, Interstate 10 near Pensacola, and Interstate 75 near Lake City are open to provide incoming travelers the latest public health, travel and safety information. The welcome centers are operating with sanitization and social distancing measures recommended by public health officials. Nearly a half-million face masks have been provided by DOH and FDEM and are being made available to visitors.
  • 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

 

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLDEM/bulletins/29747a0

 

More Information on COVID-19

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. For information and advisories from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please visit the CDC COVID-19 website, this website is also available in Spanish and Creole. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, please visit the travel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

 

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.