Florida is temporarily prohibiting visitation at nursing homes and similar facilities throughout the state as part of the effort to stop the spread of coronavirus as more cases have been confirmed, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday.
DeSantis said the state will be temporarily prohibiting guest visits at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family care homes, long term care facilities and adult group homes.
"These are important efforts to mitigate the risks to our most vulnerable population to COVID-19, which is our elderly population and particularly those who have serious underlying medical conditions," DeSantis said.
DeSantis spoke as it was announced that all schools in the state university system would be shifting to online classes in response to coronavirus.
"Because you have the ability to do distance learning they'll be able to do that and not miss a huge beat," DeSantis said. "I think that those were prudent steps."
The moves come after the Florida Department of Health announced late Tuesday that eight more people have tested positive for the coronavirus. On Wednesday night, the department announced three more cases out of Miami-Dade, Broward and St. Johns counties.
Officials said the individuals are being "appropriately cared for and isolated." The latest individuals affected are:
- A 68-year old male in Nassau County, a travel-related case
- A 68-year old female Georgia resident who is currently in Alachua County. The Georgia Department of Public Health is leading the epidemiological investigation for this individual.
- A 73-year old male in Collier County, a travel-related case
- A 68-year old female in Collier County, a travel-related case
- A 64-year old female in Collier County, a travel-related case
- A 67-year old male in Pinellas County, a travel-related case
- A 64-year old male in Pinellas County, a travel-related case
- A 46-year old male in Pasco County, a travel-related case
- A 63-year old male New York resident who is currently in St. Johns County. He traveled to Daytona to attend Daytona Bike Week.
- A 56-year old male in Miami-Dade County, a travel-related case
- A 70-year old male in Broward County. He attended an EMS conference in Tampa.
Twenty-three cases are Florida residents who were diagnosed in Florida. The two other cases include the New York man, the Georgia woman and a California resident who is under self-isolation in Florida.
This brings up the state's total number of cases to 26 as of late Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Broward County officials declared a state of emergency after the fourth case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the area Tuesday morning. The declaration will make way for more resources to fight the spread of the virus.
The Florida Department of Health is urging anyone who recently traveled through Port Everglades to isolate themselves for 14 days if they start experiencing symptoms. Three employees of a company that greets cruise ship passengers at Port Everglades tested positive for the new coronavirus.
That conforms with new guidelines issued Monday by the CDC, which advises recent cruise passengers to monitor their health for 14 days, immediately self-isolate if they experience symptoms, and contact medical professionals for treatment.
A Princess Cruises ship will be allowed to dock at Port Everglades on Wednesday after two crew members who were tested for COVID-19 tested negative for the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, but it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia in older adults and people with existing health problems. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus within weeks.
There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Miami-Dade County, but officials laid out their contingency plans should the virus start to spread in the county.
Swift-moving developments over the new coronavirus ricocheted across Florida’s Capitol as Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Monday and lawmakers disrupted their legislative session so crews in surgical gowns could swab down the House chambers. DeSantis said his declaration would enable Florida to better marshal resources and get outside help as it confronts the growing public health crisis.
For more information on coronavirus in Florida, visit Floridahealth.org/covid-19