Monroe County DOH Administrator: Covid-19 Trend Favorable / Strongly Consider Relaxing Measures

This morning Monroe County Emergency Management Director, Shannon Weiner, held her weekly countywide COVID-19 coordinating meeting. Department of Health Administrator, Bob Eadie, said that there has been one additional case added since yesterday bringing the total number of cases in Monroe County up to 79. The newest patient is a Key West resident. Further details available on our daily update page.

Relaxing Some Measures:

Eadie said that the trend in number of new Covid-19 cases looks “very favorable.” “Looking down the road. Our trends are very favorable. That means that with all of these task forces, that relaxing restrictions in some ways certainly is something that should be strongly considered. I know how anxious people are for a variety of reasons but just to get out of their house. Enough to be able to see if there is some way for that to be done safely. So that’s underway.

Miami-Dade to Open Golf Courses, Marinas, Boat Ramps, Parks 

Monroe County Administrator, Roman Gastesi, reported that he had just received a copy of an executive order this morning from Miami. The order, which has not yet been signed by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, states that Miami-Dade County will be opening golf courses, marinas, boat ramps, and parks this week. Gastesi said the effective date was uncertain but he thought it would be this Wednesday.  Mayor Heather Carruthers had said previously that one of the criteria for opening up similar amenities in Monroe County should be that counties to our north (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach) have already opened up similar amenities because she feared that residents in those counties, Florida’s hot spots for the coronavirus, would begin coming to the Keys to use our recreational facilities.

“Rapid” Tests:

Eadie announced that the state is expected to receive 200,000 of the 300,000 “rapid” covid-19 tests ordered by the Governor by May 8th. But plans are not finalized as to how those tests will be allocated, he said. In the past Eadie and Weiner have stated that tests would go to Florida’s hot-spots in priority. Eadie said that local efforts to implement widespread testing would have to be “self-sustaining”, indicating that Monroe County will need to find the facilities and manpower to conduct the tests locally without requiring assistance from the state or federal government. Eadie said the FDOH is in discussion with experts regarding setting up a task force to work on logistics. “We’ll come up with recommendations by the end of the week as to what we should be doing regarding what tests are available, what they will mean, and how we will deploy those tests.”

N-95 Decontamination Machine:

Eadie pointed out that with widespread testing comes a greater need for PPE (personal protective equipment) and he told the group that those professionals who rely on N-95 masks to keep them safe in Monroe County will now have access to the new N-95 decontamination machine that was delivered by the federal government to the City of Miami. The machine, manufactured by Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination Systems (CCDS), can decontaminate up to 80,000 used N95 respirators per system per day, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews. Eadie said that each N-95 mask could be decontaminated up to 20X’s. Weiner told the group that the Florida Department of Emergency Management “is rolling out a process on how to register and send in your N-95’s locally and then we will get them to Miami-Dade for you.” She said hospitals will have a separate process and they will be receiving more information on that later this week. Weiner said turnaround time for decontamination would be 72-hours and that the machine can only decontaminate NON-cellulose N-95 masks that are unsoiled and undamaged.

Hospitals/Plans to Begin Performing Elective Procedures:

Lower Keys Medical Center reported they currently have no patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or patients who are suspected of having the disease. All three hospitals reported they are having difficulties obtaining enough gowns.  And all three hospitals reported having a plan in place to be able to safely begin performing elective procedures as soon as the Governor lifts the order banning all “non-essential” medical procedures.

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