COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Last updated: April 7, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

THE KEYS ARE CLOSED TO VISITORS

ALL THOSE ENTERING THE KEYS SHOULD CARRY BACKUP IDENTIFICATION OR DOCUMENTS PROVING HOMEOWNERSHIP OR RESIDENCY.

NEW

Gov. DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which places the entire state of Florida under the “Safer at Home” initiative. This order, which has been implemented in Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties since Monday, March 30, states that all persons within the state of Florida shall limit the time spent outside their home to only essential activities. 

This order still allows people to take care of pets and engage in outdoor recreational activities, as long as social distancing is observed. Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Any business capable of providing delivery, or curbside service is encouraged to do so.

First Confirmed Monroe County COVID-19-Related Death

The patient was a 55-year-old-male who had an underlying health condition. This confirmation has not yet been reflected on the State Health Office’s database. The previous post was updated to also reflect this information.

Florida Keys Coronavirus Cases

The latest update from the State Health Office regarding COVID-19. Monroe County is reporting 49 total cases -- 43 are residents, 6 are non-residents. 

Among the 49, 21 are travel related, 15 are community acquired, and 13 are currently being investigated.

Of the 43 residents, 24 are from Key West, 9 Key Largo, 4 Tavernier, 2 Marathon, and one from Islamorada, Summerland Key, and Key Colony Beach. One case is unknown.

7 Hospitalized, 2 deaths (reported by the State)

As of April 7, 2020 at 10 a.m. 573 have been tested, of which 103 are awaiting results.

This info is updated twice daily at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov. Under “See the Report” for detailed information by county, including testing numbers and geographic locations and (2) “See dashboard” for summaries by county.

The Health Department will officially confirm any other cases.

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Cloth face coverings should—

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

  • be secured with ties or ear loops

  • include multiple layers of fabric

  • allow for breathing without restriction

  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

CDC recommends 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.


Checkpoints continue for visitors in the Florida Keys

Monroe County, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the municipalities have partnered to continue to operate the 24-hour southbound traffic checkpoints at mile marker 112.5 on the 18-Mile Stretch (U.S. 1), and on Card Sound Road (905) to reinforce Monroe County’s closure to visitors and non-residents. Due to heightened concerns of COVID-19, only residents, property owners, and those actively involved in work in the Florida Keys will be admitted, including fuel tankers, delivery and grocery trucks.

According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 788 cars were turned around in the first 48 hours, and an estimated 2,000 people. By Friday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. a total of 1,931 cars have been turned around. Before the checkpoint started on Friday morning, the Florida Department of Transportation traffic counters were about 47-49 percent of average traffic flow for this time of year. Since the checkpoint was enacted, the traffic counters are at 23-26 percent of the average traffic flow for this time of year.

  • Proof of residency can be demonstrated with a Key West parking permit, local identification, a hard copy of the utility bill, deed, lease, or tax bill. Please make sure your ID matches your paperwork. 
  • Those actively engaged in work in the Florida Keys, such as construction workers, will need to show a hard copy of a letter from their employer, employee identification, a paystub, or current construction contract in the Keys.
  • First responders, healthcare workers, and military actively engaged in work in the Keys will need proper IDs. 

Long delays are possible at checkpoints

DO NOT call 911 with non-emergency questions about U.S. 1.

DONATIONS

We live in an amazing community! Many residents are showing up at the checkpoint with food and drink donations. The officers and others working the checkpoint are being well taken care of through Emergency Management, so there is no need to provide that kind of support. If you feel like you need to do something to help, checkpoint staff suggests donating non-perishable items to the local food banks or pet food to the local animal shelter, both of which are running short of supplies.

Gov. DeSantis: Travel Restriction

Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-82, directing all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, or any other area with substantial community spread), to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.

The Governor also issued Executive Order 20-83, directing the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer to issue a public health advisory to all persons over 65 years of age urging them to stay home and to take such other measures as necessary to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Lodging Is Closed to Visitors

Monroe County is closed to all tourists and leisure visitors. Lodging establishments are not accepting reservations until further notice. All hotels, short-term vacation rentals, and other transient rentals like marinas, RV parks, and timeshares cannot be rented to tourists until further notice. The ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County.

Non-Compliance 

The Emergency Directive 20-02 (Tourist Ban) Enforcement Protocol was collaboratively developed by Monroe County and the five municipalities with input from the Tax Collector, the Sheriff, and the State Attorney. Law enforcement officers are not prevented from taking steps to enforce Emergency Directive 20-02 if, in the officer’s discretion, immediate action is warranted.

  • Complaints: call 1-855-422-4540, the Tax Collector’s hotline.
  • Tax Collector will reach out to account holders and warn against renting during this State of Emergency and will warn those without accounts of consequences of renting without an account.
  • Tax Collector staff will refer complaints, as they come in, to the Code Compliance department within the jurisdiction for the property’s location.
  • The local Code Compliance Department will reach out to complainants to investigate. Code will advise owners, managers, and/or renters of the ban and consequences of non-compliance.
  • If Code Compliance does not obtain voluntarily compliance, Code will refer case to primary law enforcement agency for their jurisdiction. The State Attorney’s Office investigative division will also help with law enforcement responses.
  • Law enforcement will take code’s investigative information and initiate contact with violator(s) (owner, manager, and/or renter). If probable cause to believe there is a violation of Emergency Directive 20-02, law enforcement officer will issue a notice to appear (NTA) for violating an emergency directive issued during a state of emergency in violation of F.S. 252.50, a misdemeanor.
  • SAO will prosecute violations in County Court.

Vacation Rentals

To report short term vacation rentals who have not complied with the emergency directive regarding short term rentals, please call the Tax Collector’s Transient Rental Hotline at 855-422-4540. The Tax Collector’s office will be following up with the non-compliance of the directive throughout Monroe County.

Remember, the ban does not include rentals for military, first responders, health care workers, and construction workers actively engaged in projects in Monroe County. 

RV

The County has confirmed that there are available and open RV parks throughout the State of Florida that are currently accepting reservations. (RVtogo.com is one resource.)

Restaurants/Bars

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida, including the State Directive regarding restaurants and bars. 

QUESTIONS?

COUNTY NEWS

  • Monroe County has  renewed its State of Local Emergency. The municipalities have  also renewed theirs. 
  • The County is encouraging the "Safer At Home" South Florida Initiative. Leaving your home and interacting with others is taking the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and bringing it home to your family.  Persons 65 or older, or persons with underlying heath issues or who are immuno-compromised, should stay at home. Condense your errands to grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, etc.  These essential businesses will continue to stay open. Please only purchase your normal amount of goods.

THINGS TO KNOW

  • Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health and will continue to facilitate conference calls with partner agencies and the municipalities.
  • Monroe County Emergency Management activated its EOC to Level 2 Partial Activation and is meeting regularly as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • For Monroe County Social Services and congregate food schedule changes, please see www.monroecounty-fl.gov/socialservices
  • The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention center has virtual visitation options available for inmates: www.keysso.net.

FEELING SICK?

If you suspect you have COVID-19 and believe a test is needed, call your doctor first. If you do not have a doctor, call your local urgent care or clinic. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If hospitalized or in an emergency room and you meet the testing criteria for the state, a sample will be collected at the hospital. If the individual does not meet state testing criteria, the medical director at the hospital may send the sample to a commercial lab,

If you are at a physician’s office and meet the testing criteria for the state, then the sample will be collected by the hospital or DOH staff. If the individual does not meet state criteria for testing, then he or she will need to find a private provider currently set up to do the test at a commercial lab. Most private providers are taking steps to set up commercial testing in their offices.

Any veteran who shows symptoms should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for triage and instruction prior to coming to the medical center or clinics.

Prevention Tips Opens in new window

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SOCIAL MEDIA

CENSUS

RESPOND TO THE U.S. CENSUS ONLINE: If you DO NOT respond to the U.S. Census, Census workers will be required to go to homes that have not responded. You DO NOT need an invitation code to respond online at www.my2020census.gov -- no pin needed. Plan to include everyone you expect to live in your home on April 1.

You can respond online or by phone in one of 13 languages and find assistance in many more. If you need help completing the 2020 Census, you can call a toll-free phone number 844-330-2020. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services and the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.