Coronavirus Live Updates: DeSantis Says New Yorkers Who Came To Florida Must Self-Quarantine

Mar 23, 2020

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This post will be updated today with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

WLRN staff continues to add to community resource lists, including this article on where kids and families can get food while schools are closed, and this post about whether and where to get tested for the coronavirus.

The dedicated website for the Florida Department of Health, including information about symptoms and numbers of cases, can be found here. The dedicated website from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

QUICK UPDATES

DeSantis Orders New Yorkers Who Came To Florida To Self-Quarantine

Monday, March 23 at 6:35 p.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he was issuing an executive order requiring people coming to Florida from the New York City coronavirus hot spot region to self-quarantine for 14 days.

He said that New York’s order for people to stay home to curb the spread of the new coronavirus has led people to leave and come to Florida.

“As soon as that shelter in place order came down from the New York governor, man, the flights took off. People just got out of Dodge,” he said.

DeSantis said Florida’s efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic are being undermined by the influx of people from the New York area since the imposition of stay-at-home orders. He said there is “a flood of people still coming from New York City.”

Read more from our news partners at the Sun-Sentinel

Dry Tortugas National Park Closes Campground, Park Still Open For Self-Sufficient Visits

Monday, March 23 at 6:20 p.m.

Dry Tortugas National Park, a cluster of islands 70 miles west of Key West, has closed the campground and the campground restroom on Garden Key until further notice.

Park waters, Loggerhead Key, Garden Key with Fort Jefferson and the harbors will remain open but there are no restrooms or visitor services available. Visitors to the park should be self-sufficient.

The park suspended ferry and seaplane service last week.

Dry Tortugas also offers a variety of digital materials on the park’s website and videos on YouTube. Follow @DryTortugasNPS on social media for continued education and updates.

 -Nancy Klingener

Keys Boat Ramps Closed To Visitors, Fishing Bridges Closed To All
Monday, March 23 at 12:25 p.m., updated at 2:35 p.m.

Boat ramps in the Keys are closed to visitors and the fishing bridges are closed to fishing for everyone, Monroe County announced Monday.

The Keys closed to visitors as of 6 p.m. Sunday, with all hotels and other tourist lodging shut down by county order. U.S. 1 is still open.

Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have closed all boat ramps and marinas to try to stop boat parties and raft-ups that took place over the weekend. Gatherings of boaters were also reported throughout the Keys.

A directive from the Fish and Wildlife Commission to Keys officers tells them to avoid making custodial arrests and give people a notice to appear "at every opportunity," and work toward compliance.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office announced Monday afternoon they would be stepping up patrols on the water and working with FWC officers "patrolling popular sandbars and social areas on the water." The officers will be looking for people who are "rafting up," ie. tying boats together, or otherwise ignoring social distancing.

In its press release, the sheriff's office noted that "if people don't follow instructions regarding social distancing, Monroe County and local municipalities could take further action regarding water access."

- Nancy Klingener

Hollywood Police Department Employee Tests Positive
Monday March 23, 11:35 a.m.

A Hollywood Police Department employee has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Department released a statement Monday morning. A list of people who had indirect and direct contact with the employee have been notified. None have reported symptoms at this time. The people who had direct contact with the person affected were advised to self-quarantine at home.

The Hollywood Police Department does not have the capability to require any of its personnel to get testing, but like the general public, is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. 

The statement reads in part: “As with all public safety first responders, the inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 is a major concern, so the Department continues to urge its personnel to utilize all precautionary measures and equipment at their disposal to insure the safety of the public and themselves.”

- Caitie Switalski

Updated at 3:54 p.m.: Two Hialeah police officers have tested positive for the virus. Read more at MiamiHerald.com.

New Telephone Test Registration for C.B. Smith Park Drive-Thru Testing Site
Monday, March 23 at 11:26 a.m.

A new telephonic pre-registration process has been established to reduce wait time at the C.B. Smith Park COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test Collection site. People will be able to complete the crucial criteria screening and provide demographic information ahead of time, which is required in order to get tested at the park. Read more about the registration and testing process here.

First Cases Of COVID-19 Reported In Key West
Monday, March 23 at 11:14 a.m.

Key West has its first reported presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, according to Monroe County’s top health department officer.

Bob Eadie, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, told other government officials and business owners on a conference call meeting Monday morning that epidemiological test results are pending, but they could be in by later in the day.

Three people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the state department has reported. A 72-year-old woman in Key Largo who had recently traveled to the United Kingdom is expected to fully recover, health officials said.

Read more from our news partners at the Miami Herald.

Updated at 1:20 p.m.: The state has officially confirmed only one of those cases — a 54-year-old woman in Monroe County. The state has announced it will not confirm what areas of the Keys people live in. "All indications of this infection indicate that it was acquired from her travel to France," the Monroe County office of the state Department of Health said in a release.

The patient is at home, self-isolating and is expected to make a full recovery, the DOH stated.

-Nancy Klingener

State Parks Closed
Monday, March 23 at 8 a.m.

All state parks in Florida are closed, effective today.

The state had earlier closed state parks with beaches and limited operating hours and capacity at popular parks.

"Unfortunately this has not resulted in the reductions needed" to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to an announcement on the state park system's website.

-Nancy Klingener