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State Emergency Management gears up for COVID-19

By Staff | Mar 18, 2020

The State Department of Health and Emergency Management are gearing up for the new coronarvirus by ordering additional supplies and bulking up medical facility options.

The state has ordered additional testing kits, supplies and protective devices and is continuing establish mobile testings sites, mobile emergency units and field hospitals and is working directly with hospitals and large health systems to identify potential vacant wings or buildings to provide additional hospital inpatient capacity should it become necessary.

At the direction of Governor DeSantis, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declared a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 in Florida.

DeSantis announced that the State ordered an additional 2,500 test kits to supplement the adequate resources already available to test for COVID-19. These additional test kits will enable the Department of Health, working with Florida health care providers, to test up to an additional 625,000 individuals. The state has approved and disseminated an updated Clinician Screening Tool for identifying COVID-19 PUIs and has distributed updated laboratory guidance regarding implementation of testing at State Public Health Laboratories and is developing a laboratory surge plan, officials said in a release issued Tuesday night.

At the Governor’s direction, a public-private partnership has been put in place between Memorial Healthcare in Broward and the National Guard to set up a mobile testing unit.

Meanwhile the Division of Emergency Management is continuing to order supplies and personal protective equipment in an effort to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

After conducting a thorough assessment of needs, Director Jared Moskowitz has requested the following supplies through Direct Federal Assistance supplies received to be delivered on a rolling basis with inventory being distributed throughout the state 24 hours a day.

Requested suppplies include:

5 mobile intensive care units

5,000 ventilators

5,000 hospital beds

50,000 two oz. bottles of hand sanitizer

250,000 coveralls

500,000 gloves

500,000 gowns

500,000 collection kits

100,000 16 oz. bottles of hand sanitizers

150,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits, including coveralls, gowns, and goggles

2 million N95 face masks

Other agencies involved include the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida National Guard.

FDLE is working with state and local agencies and the Florida National Guard to set up testing collection sites in multiple locations across Florida.

There have been over 598 Florida National Guardsmen placed on state active duty in support of COVID-19.

The Florida National Guard is activating all of their medical professionals — Army combat medic specialists and Air Force medical technicians — to support Florida Department of Health’s drive-through screening operations. Guardsmen have reported in and formed Task Force Medical already.

The Florida National Guard also has activated soldiers to augment the State Logistics Readiness Center in Central Florida to augment the State Emergency Operations Center.

Moskowitz also is working with the federal government to determine if there is capacity to add US Navy Mercy-Class ships at Florida ports.

Three field hospitals are being deployed:

One field hospital is currently staged in Orlando and can be deployed to other areas in the state as needed.

One field hospital is on its way to Broward County and will be set up there.

One field hospital is on its way to Ocala and will be staged there and deployed to other areas as needed.

Mobile COVID-19 testing is also being implemented.

Source: Joint Information Center on COVID-19 for the State of Florida