Updated: May 7
The Florida House Majority Office is publishing a series of sector-specific resource blog posts and downloadable documents to aid constituents in understanding the support available to them during the coronavirus crisis. This post contains information and resources for Florida's frontline workers. Download the PDF version here.
Personal Protective Equipment
As of May 5, the federal government has distributed 7.5 million face shields; 115.4 million surgical masks; 926,683 coveralls; 946.6 million gloves; 66.8 million N95 respirators; and 18.7 million gowns.
This information (FEMA’s “COVID-19 By The Numbers”) is updated daily in graphics available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/multimedia/collections/743.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services distributed more than 500,000 medical supplies, including over 190,000 N95 respirator masks that were confiscated from price gougers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for health care facilities on strategies to conserve personal protective equipment. The guidance includes prioritizing facemasks and N95 respirators for use during procedures and interactions where there is greater risk of infection.
For more information, see www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html.
Regulatory Relief Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services temporarily suspended rules so that hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities can boost their frontline workforce.
Doctors can now directly care for patients at rural hospitals, across state lines if necessary, via phone, radio, or online communication, without having to be physically present. Remotely located physicians, coordinating with nurse practitioners at rural facilities, will provide staff at such facilities additional flexibility to meet the needs of their patients.
Nurse practitioners, in addition to physicians, may now perform some medical exams on Medicare patients at skilled nursing facilities so that patient needs, whether COVID-19 related or not, continue to be met in the face of increased care demands.
Occupational therapists from home health agencies can now perform initial assessments on certain homebound patients, allowing home health services to start sooner and freeing home-health nurses to do more direct patient care.
Hospice nurses will be relieved of hospice aide in-service training tasks so they can spend more time with patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance for health care facilities and providers. The guidance covers how providers can care for patients who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and how facilities can prepare for these patients. For more information, see the following:
FLORIDA RESOURCES The information in this section reflects the most recent available information as of April 27, 2020. The number of tests and equipment distributed changes frequently. For more up-to-date data, please refer to the daily updates titled “The State of Florida Issues COVID-19 Updates (Date),” available at https://floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/.
On May 6, Governor DeSantis announced the state will begin serology anti-body testing for health care workers and first responders.
The state is working to implement these anti-body tests at the Orange County Convention Center testing site in Orlando and at the TIAA Bank Field testing site in Jacksonville.
The new Critical Care Decontamination System at Hard Rock Stadium will accept N95 masks from health care workers and first responders statewide to be decontaminated. The unit has the ability to decontaminate up to 80,000 masks per day, and the same mask can be decontaminated up to 20 times. http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2020/05/050620-2048-covid19.pr.html
Florida Department of Health (DOH) Governor 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 already tested more than 356,000 people. DOH is now providing a report with surveillance data for every Florida county. Previously, this information was only available for select communities. The April 26 county surveillance data report is available at https://s33330.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FL_County.pdf.
Future county reports can be found at the DOH website under “See county report” at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/.
Additionally, DOH has:
Approved and disseminated an updated Clinician Screening Tool for identifying COVID-19 PUIs.
Developed infographics for first responders (fire, law enforcement and EMS) regarding infection control and personal protection for COVID-19.
Developed protocols for County Health Departments in the protection of their staff and clinic activities through the development of safety and health guidance.
For more information, see floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/20200415-the-state-of-florida-issues-covid-19-updates/.
Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) As of May 6, FDEM has distributed the following PPE to support health care workers and first responders:
25 million masks
Nearly 10 million gloves
1.6 million face shields
Over 1 million shoe covers
Over 200,000 containers of hand sanitizers
Over 400,000 gowns
For more information, visit floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/20200426-the-state-of-florida-issues-covid-19-updates/.