DORAL, FL – Florida Lawmakers are thinking about providing additional dollars for the Health Department to fight coronavirus, after two cases were confirmed in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, and one presumptively tested positive for COVID-19.
“I think initially we’re talking about $10 (million) to $20 million,” Senate President Bill Galvano said to CBS Miami. “Until we really know what we’re looking at, the number is still in play.”
Lawmakers, who are right now in Tallahassee defining the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, are concerned not only about the virus spreading across the state but about the possibility of it entering any of Florida’s 700 nursing homes, since it is known coronavirus is more deadly in the elderly population.
According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the risk has been much higher for the elderly in China, where the first outbreak occurred.
“The early information is that for this disease, the fatality rate for coronavirus with older people in China was 10 times as high as it was for the overall population,” said David Brunes, a spokesperson for AARP, after the organization issued a call to action to help fight coronavirus in elderly nursing home patients.
And everyone’s concerns about the elderly, also shared by Governor Ron DeSantis, unfortunately has its basis on a national level after the virus entered Washington State.
In that area, where six people have died from COVID-19, four belonged to the Life Care Center nursing facility, in Kirkland, Washington.
For all this, DeSantis is providing guidelines to nursing-home and assisted living facility providers on how to prevent the virus from spreading, while also advising them of not allowing entrance to people with coronavirus symptoms.
“You really need to be, I think, forward-leaning on that,” DeSantis said to CBS Miami about the risk of the virus impacting nursing-home and assisted living facility residents. “You know, we’ve seen what’s happened in Washington state. So we’re going to continue to work with them.”
COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31. As of Monday, there were 88,948 confirmed cases worldwide and more than 3,000 deaths.
In the country, the numbers are also rising with 128 cases of COVID-19 in 12 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
According to the Florida Department of Health, in the state there are still test results pending in another 16 cases; twenty-four people had negative test results, while another 247 people were being monitored by the health department.
Image by: CDC- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.