Daily COVID-19 cases in the state’s counties have reached a “tipping point,” according to Harvard data.
As of Monday, a majority of Florida’s 67 counties are in the “red” zone with an average of 25 or more new daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, according to Harvard University data.
The Harvard Global Health Institute’s map uses four colors: green, yellow, orange, and red to show the risk level in the different counties, with red indicating that a county is at a “tipping point.” This signals that stay-at-home orders are necessary to control the spread of the virus.
CDC: Refrain From Traveling
Following a surge in coronavirus cases in Canada after Thanksgiving on Oct. 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people in the United States refrain from traveling and spend Thanksgiving with people they live with in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Safety Advice from DOH
For this reason, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is offering advice to help you protect yourself from COVID-19 during hoiday gatherings and celebrations. These include:
- All individuals should wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- If someone feels ill during the holiday season, get tested for COVID-19 and avoid going out in public or being around at-risk individuals.
- Older adults or persons with certain medical conditions who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in their household.
- Consider hosting an outdoor gathering rather than an indoor gathering.
- Although travel is advised against by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DOH urges guests who have traveled from other areas or towns to distance themselves from people who are 65 or older and people of any age who have underlying health issues such as lung or heart disease.
- Hosts entertaining at home should make sure frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected before and after gatherings.
The Miami Herald also reports that in addition to the familiar message -the safest approach is to stay home and celebrate without guests; if risking a dinner with guests outside the household, eating outdoors reduces the danger of COVID transmission while masks are off during meals- hard hit Miami-Dade county has some tips for the gatherings that present the most danger for contagion: multiple households convening inside for maskless eating and drinking. In that case, have each household bring its own food and dishes to reduce risks from surface contamination, spread out, avoid crowds inside, and wear masks.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year. Read here for more information.
- People should be vaccinated at least two weeks before traveling because it can take a few weeks for vaccine immunity to develop.
- Flu vaccines are offered at health care providers’ offices, clinics, county health departments, pharmacies, schools, and college health centers. Read here for more information.
Preventing the spread of the illness is not the DOH’s only advisory. The agency has safety recommendations for everything from food safety to injury prevention.
Read the CDC’s full list of recommendations HERE.
Calling Out DeSantis
Florida has 945,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, and 18,804 deaths have been reported.
With cases spiking across the state and the situation expected to get worse over the holidays, in mid November a coalition of Florida mayors, both Democrat and Republican, tried to convince Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in September allowed restaurants and bars in the state to reopen at full capacity, that coronavirus mitigation measures are urgently needed again.
DeSantis has resisted mandating masks statewide. But several cities and counties where cases have surged, including Key West, have enforced their own mask mandates. Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida, has required residents to wear masks in public since July.
For More Information
If you have any questions, the Florida Department of Health’s number is 866-779-6121. It’s available Sunday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents may also email questions to COVIDemail@example.com.
In Orange County, the number is 407-723-5004 and it’s available Tuesday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For online resources visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov and The Florida Department of Health: floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19.