BROWARD COUNTY, FL – At a news conference in Tallahassee yesterday afternoon, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that health officials now report 24 cases of COVID-19 in Broward County. The majority of cases are linked to international travel, but not all of the cases are Broward County residents. Three of the cases are unlinked, which the Governor said may indicate that COVID-19 in Broward is now experiencing a “community spread.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), community spread means transmission of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Unlinked cases may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected; Florida Department of Health investigations are continuing.
While the risk for COVID-19 across our nation is still believed to be low, federal, state and local emergency management activities are focused on prevention and containment, and Broward County is part of the nationwide coordinated response. The key to containment is appropriate preventive actions including “social distancing” which calls for 3-6 feet of personal space where possible, and avoidance of crowds.
Late Friday, Broward County canceled all sporting events at County parks, including the last two weekends of the Renaissance Festival, and all public programs and activities at County libraries. However, Parks and Libraries currently remain open for resident use at their discretion. The County has stepped up sanitizing procedures at all of its government facilities. For the latest on Broward County cancellations, visit Broward.org/CoronaVirus.
Voting in the March 17 Presidential Preference Primary, and early voting which is scheduled to be open through Sunday, March 15 at several library locations, will continue as planned. Broward County has worked with the Supervisor of Elections Office to ensure that polling locations are properly sanitized in advance of Election Day, and during Election Day until the polls close. There are some changes to polling locations, primarily to assist with voting by elderly residents. Visit BrowardSOE.org for the latest location information.
The Board of County Commissioners reminds all residents and visitors to follow these guidelines for personal protection:
- Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap and water. Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water is not available.
- DON’T TOUCH your face or directly touch public surfaces such as handrails, elevator buttons, restroom faucets, gasoline pumps, etc.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle (i.e. eat properly, hydrate and get plenty of rest).
- If you are sick, stay home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing and/or severe illness), call the Florida Department of Health at 954-412-7300 BEFORE visiting your health care provider, and follow their instructions.
- Be cognizant of the fact that COVID-19 is highly transmissible and seniors are among the most vulnerable. Take steps to help protect the elderly from the spread.
While many residents are reporting limited supplies of certain products at grocery stores, state officials said that it is still important for residents to be properly supplied and that there are no supply chain issues in the state. Check back after resupplies to complete your shopping.
The Governor also announced several initiatives to ease the need for public interaction at this time, such as temporary relaxation of driver’s license renewal requirements.
The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has moved to a Level 1 activation. Broward County remains under a local State of Emergency and the Broward EOC is at a Level 2 activation.