Planning for Coronavirus in Orlando in 2020

Orange County and the city of Orlando provided an update today, March 18, 2020, on how to prepare for Coronavirus in Orlando and Orange County and provided the following top takeaways:

Websites:

Click here to visit the official webpage for Orange County for the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus in Central Florida and click here for the coverage of coronavirus from the Orlando Sentinel and click here for updates from Bungalower.

Hospitals:

Unless you are experiencing severe respiratory distress, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, you SHOULD NOT go to an ER for a COVID-19 test. An ER should only be used for medical emergencies. An influx of unnecessary patients to an ER will overwhelm our hospital systems, and put healthcare workers and other patients at risk.

If you are sick and exhibiting symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should seek treatment with your primary care physician or urgent care center. It is recommended that residents call their provider before visiting their clinic.

Physicians are stringently adhering to the testing criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if a patient qualifies for a COVID-19 test. A doctor will likely test you for other illnesses, such as the flu, before ordering a COVID-19 test.

While hospitals have testing capabilities, the public cannot come in and order their own tests. A physician must order it.

Bars and Restaurants:

· Orange County Government is following the Executive Order provided Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on March 17, 2020. All bars and nightclubs are closed in Orange County for 30 days.

· Residents can report any violations to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation on the Department’s online portal

· Restaurants are required to limit customer entry to 50 percent of capacity. Additionally, seating must be staggered and limited to ensure parties are separated by a distance of at least six feet. Orange County Government highly encourages restaurants to expand take-out and delivery services so that residents can continue supporting local businesses.

Community-Based Testing Sites

· Community-Based Testing Sites will be state-managed and locally executed operations integrated with broader state public health services, which may require varying levels of federal personnel support. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services remains the lead federal agency for the management of the response to COVID-19.

· The Orange County Convention Center has committed to working with local, state and federal partners to provide the Destination Flat Parking Lot at 5980 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819, as a drive-through for a Community-Based Testing Site for the Central Florida region. This will not impact business operations and all testing will take place externally. This is a fluid situation in terms of when and exactly where it will open, but we are committed to serving the Central Florida community and will provide more information as details are confirmed with our partners

· Community-Based Testing Sites are only available to those who meet the Department’s criteria for being tested for COVID-19. It is not facility open to anyone who wants to be tested.

Hotels & Community Resources

· Orange County’s hospitality and tourism industry has been impacted by COVID-19. Many hotels are furloughing employees and cutting back services due to decreased demand.

· Orange County Government will be expanding its Crisis Assistance Program and providing a hotline to help mortgage and rent-stressed households within the County. Details soon to follow.

· Residents are encouraged to visit http://www.ocfl.net/Coronavirus for a list of community assistance services available in Orange County

Orange County News Conference (March 18th, 2020)

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