Highlights from the May 26th COVID-19 Countywide Coordinating Meeting

Today, May 26, Monroe County Emergency Management Director Shannon Weiner held a COVID-19 countywide coordinating meeting. Below are some highlights. [See the video above for the full meeting.]

Bob Eadie, Administrator of the DOH-Monroe: “Over the weekend we unfortunately had an additional death which had been announced. It came out of the nursing home facility at Tavernier. Our count now is four. This is the first death that we’ve had now since the beginning of the outbreak. Also, you’ll notice that our case count has gone up to 107 and that is because of our testing at that facility. For this week an update on activities are that there is a team from the IMT that is testing all of our long-term elderly residents facilities in Monroe County. They’re starting this morning. They will continue through Friday morning and then we will have had all of these facilities tested and so we’ll at least have some sort of benchmark before we open back up to citizens from elsewhere. The one Bayview – I mean Bayshore Manor – has been tested. There are no positive cases there with their [clients] or with their personnel. So kudos to Cheryl. This week we will be having a testing task force meeting to review where we are. There is testing set up now throughout the entire Keys from Key Largo to Key West. There are – just for people to know – there are Urgent Care Centers. You have private doctors. You have the Good Health Clinic. You have the community health centers of CHI, in Marathon, in Key Largo, in Key West. You have the Rural Health Network in Key West. You have the health department standing by with over 200 PCR tests that we hold in case there is some sort of surge from there. But anyway, we’ll be meeting with the task force on Wednesday to update where we are. To see if there’re any changes to make sure there are no holes in the plan and then also we are developing – it should be this week – our contact control manual that we will be sharing with the EMT’s. We’ve discussed with all of the fire chiefs and the EMS personnel. We will be training all of the EMS personnel to do contact tracing in their jurisdictions if indeed that need should arise and the number of cases exceeds the number of contact tracers we have for – on the health department staff right now.”

Mayor Heather Carruthers to Bob Eadie: “Bob, I just have one question: What’s the cost to be tested?”

Bob Eadie: “It depends. If your with Good Health Clinic – to start at the top – you have an income level – if you’re over that income level you’re not eligible for their testing. So, it’s free if you meet their [criteria]. If you’re part of the CHI, you have a sliding fee scale. They accept insurance too but a sliding fee scale runs anywhere from $25 up to full insurance pay – that they will take from your insurance. The test usually costs about $100 at a private physician and anywhere from, I think, $50 to $100 for the visit itself – and that may or may not be covered by insurance but as I say – CHI you can get your test for free. They’re not asking questions. You just have to become a patient of theirs so you’ll be in their system.”

Carruthers: “I guess I was under the impression – I though the federal government was at the tab for any testing but that’s not the case?”

Eadie: “No, not for – if you have insurance – they’re looking for that. Our testing that’s coming through the health department is going to be free. If you’re at a private physician then you will – because you have the lab fees – because their tests are usually going to a testing lab such as Quest or Lab Corp.”

Carruthers: “Are there requirements to get tested or can anyone get tested at the health department?”

Eadie: “Right now the health department is still holding out for those who have symptoms or have a known contact with someone who is diagnosed with Covid. We are holding our tests in case there is an outbreak such as at the nursing home, or such as in the jail – not that there is going to be. But I’m just saying that is what we are doing in holding the staff… For those that need to be tested there are adequate sites – I think  – throughout the county. When we get through with all of the long-term care residents and elderly residents we’ll look again if we can set up drive-through testing.”

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