SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Many Floridians, especially those who are considered non-essential employees, are pushing both local and state leaders to begin the process of reopening Florida’s economy.
Central Florida has seen certain beaches relax their policies put in place to combat coronavirus, but according to Seminole County leaders, their communities will adhere to current precautions for the time being.
As of Thursday afternoon, Seminole County had reported 334 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 78 hospitalizations, and 7 fatalities, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The county has hosted a series of pop-up coronavirus testing sites to better serve those individuals in lower-income and underserved communities and will continue hosting those sites through next week.
On Tuesday, the county’s testing site in Altamonte Springs tested 239 people, on Wednesday the site in Sanford tested 280 people and on Thursday 355 tests were administered, according to Alan Harris, Seminole County Emergency Manager.
“I am happy to report today the largest logistics push in Seminole County history,” Harris said. “Today we delivered 67,500 masks to 77 assisted living facilities and nursing homes.”
Harris said those masks will provide each person in assisted living facilities across the county with 15 days of fresh personal protective equipment.
Jay Zembower, Seminole County Board of County Commissioners Chairman, also announced Thursday that the county had created its own, individualized dashboard to display all the most current coronavirus information for residents.
“This [dashboard] will allow you as a citizen or business owner to go to the website and quickly see at a glance what is going on in the county as far as the number of tests that have been run, the number of positive tests, how the trends are going, hospital capabilities, ect,” Zembower said.
The county dashboard looks similar to and incorporates information from the Florida Department of Health.
The dashboard can be found at PrepareSeminole.org and can be access by clicking on this link.
Zembower also addressed the timeline of reopening Seminole County for business after the coronavirus pandemic had shut down businesses for the past six weeks, saying that the county will follow all federal and state guidelines for doing so.
“There’s been a lot of pain inflicted on our business community and employees of those businesses," Zembower said. "That said, we are in a health crisis, we’ve got to be patient, we’ve got to take it slow, we’ve got to be smart about how things go and how we get back to work.”
In response to the demand to reopen the local economy, a task force has been assembled to better direct and inform county leaders on how to open a business and other public areas when it is safe and healthy to do so.
According to Zembower, that task force includes the following individuals:
- Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma
- Todd M. Husty, DO Medical Director of Seminole County
- Florida Department of Health Seminole County Officer Donna Walsh
- Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris
- Seminole County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Jay Zembower
Florida remains under a stay-at-home order until April 30.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has created the Reopen Florida Task Force executive committee, which has been tasked to develop plans to reopen the economy while minimizing close contact at businesses. Meanwhile, the governor has also created an Industry Working Group task force to tackle tourism, construction, real estate, recreation, retail, and transportation issues.
DeSantis’ taskforce is set to meet Friday and is expected to provide updated guidance to the governor with their recommendations regarding reopening the state.