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Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now spread to 188 countries. Over 18.9 million people have been infected worldwide, including over 4,830,000 cases in the United States, over 510,000 in Florida, and over 127,000 in Miami-Dade County. Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a public health emergency for our state.
Our scientists and public health officials are carefully monitoring the spread of coronavirus in the United States. COVID-19 is spread person-to-person via droplets, and symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should call your primary care provider immediately. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can contact the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade at 305-470-5660 or 305-324-2400.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that a portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In addition to maintaining six feet social distance, CDC is advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
As community spread increases, it is vital that we all practice responsible social distancing measures. These include:
- Working or engaging in schooling from home;
- 6-feet social distancing;
- Fully quarantining for 14 days if a member of your household is infected; and
- Postponing discretionary travel.
There are also preventative health measures you can take to keep yourself safe. These include:
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing that tissue in the trash;
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces;
- Staying home if you are sick; and
- Wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
To help protect yourself, grocery store workers, and other shoppers, it is important to keep a few things in mind while shopping:
- Prepare a shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks-worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.
- Wear a face covering or mask while you are in the store. The City of Miami is requiring all grocery store shoppers to wear masks. Check your, county or city guidelines for any other requirements.
- Carry your own wipes or use those provided by the store to wipe down the handles of your shopping cart or basket.
- If you use reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned or washed before each use.
- Practice social distancing while shopping – keeping at least 6 feet between you, other shoppers, and store employees. Keep your hands away from your face.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you return home and again after you put away your groceries.
- There is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution.
You can view up-to-date information from the CDC here. You can view up-to-date information from the Florida Department of Health here. You can also click here for consolidated information from various federal agencies. Florida has a COVID-19 Call Center available Monday through Friday, 8 AM to midnight at 1 (866) 779-6121. You can also email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
You can find a list of health centers in Miami-Dade County here. Using Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard, you can track and monitor the state's reported case numbers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a list of what you need to know about COVID-19 in various languages:
You can find more detailed CDC guidelines for various groups here:
Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission
Frequently Asked Questions
Caring for Children
Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
What to Do if You Are Sick
Pregnancy and Infant Care FAQs
Caring for Someone at Home
Animals and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education
Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs
Florida Community Mitigation
In addition, the US Department of Labor
has released guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
How You Can Help
As the coronavirus outbreak has prompted the cancellation of many blood drives, we are facing a national shortage of blood. Giving blood is safe, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to donate to do so as soon as possible.
People who have recovered from COVID-19 should consider donating convalescent plasma to help others who have the disease recover. Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation. A negative lab test for active COVID-19 disease is not necessary to qualify for donation. Click here
to find a site near you where you can donate.
Businesses that can assist in the federal response but are not developing medical countermeasures should email a description of the business, the services they can provide, and contact information for the business to Kris Bradsher at HHS (Kris.Bradsher@hhs.gov