News outlets have been providing daily updates with the number of new cases of Coronavirus contracted globally each day. While we want to ensure a proactive and aggressive response to all public health concerns, it is important not to cause panic. I am working with my colleagues to ensure U.S. Health officials have the resources they need to ensure adequate preparation at the federal, state and local levels to properly manage a potential Coronavirus outbreak. In the interim, senior doctors at the CDC ask that we all take the following steps to safeguard our families and our community against Coronavirus.
Wash Hands Often
Stay Home if Sick
See your Doctor if your symptoms persist
This page has been created to provide new and accurate information on the Coronavirus and the steps I am taking to ensure public safety.
COVID Press Release MA Part D Memo
COVID News Alert FAQs On Survey Guidance
COVID Press Release Home Health and ESRD Guidance
COVID Press Release on Mask Guidance
Coronavirus Update Video:
CDC Fact Sheet:
Florida Delegation Letter:
As a member of the Florida Delegation, my colleagues and I sent a letter to President Trump to express our desire for the administration to prioritize resources to prevent, respond to, and treat outbreaks of Coronavirus to states such as Florida that have current cases, a substantial senior population, and high levels of foreign tourism.
Full Letter Attached Below
IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, REPS. PETERS, ENGEL, GUTHRIE, ESHOO, HUDSON, MCCAUL, SCHRADER, BILIRAKIS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO PREVENT CRITICAL ACCESS DRUG SHORTAGES
I have recently supported and voted for a bill in the House which will provide $7.8 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the U.S. response to coronavirus.
Full Letter Attached Below
Florida Health Care Association Statement on Coronavirus
FHCA Statement on Coronavirus and Nursing Home Preparations to Keep Residents Safe
“The trained health care professionals at Florida’s nursing centers are taking the threat of Coronavirus most seriously, as the safety and well-being of residents and staff is always our highest priority. Our members are focused on minimizing the potential risks by boosting preventive actions and utilizing fundamental infection control protocols, including the use of eye protection, standard hand hygiene procedures, contact and airborne precautions, and other key practices within their centers.”
Preventive measures include daily cleaning of commonly touched environmental surfaces, using an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant to decrease environmental contamination taking the steps necessary to optimize surveillance programs to identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks of disease; re-educating all staff – both clinical and nonclinical – on proper use of personal protective equipment; implementing policies to stop visitors who are sick from entering the centers, providing them with alternative ways to visit with their family members; and ensuring that health care providers avoid working while ill and developing policies to account for potential absenteeism during community-wide outbreaks.
FHCA has activated our standard emergency preparedness activities, including frequent calls with nursing homes and establishing a dedicated coronavirus web page at https://www.fhca.org/facility_operations/coronavirus. In addition, we remain in close contact with the Office of the Governor, the Florida Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the CDC, and other state and federal partners to monitor the virus and communicate updated information and ongoing resources to our members.”
ABOUT THE FLORIDA HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION
The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation which serves nearly 1,000 members and represents over 500 long term care facilities that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, short-term rehab, assisted living and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development and financial stability of its members. As Florida's first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the elderly they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population. For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit www.fhca.org.
Update on Diagnostic Testing:
On March 4th, Vice President Pence announced that the COVID-19 test will be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance plans. HHS denominated the test to be an essential health benefit. In addition, CDC has expanded coronavirus testing to all U.S. patients with an order from a doctor for testing. According to the CDC, clinicians should “use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”
Update on other Federal Actions:
Today, CMS released three memoranda to assist providers and labs in limiting the spread of COVID-19: guidelines for infection control in hospitals; guidelines for infection control in nursing homes; and discussion of the suspension of non-emergency infections.
CMS is suspending all non-emergency inspections to allow inspectors to turn their full attention to infectious disease control and abuse. Inspectors will be focusing on non-compliant facilities and those with active infection; inspectors will also respond to complaints of infection and serious threats like abuse allegations. CMS plans to focus attention on areas where there is significant activity, including Washington, California, and Florida.
More information on this announcement is available here.
CDC Awarding Initial Funding to State and Local Jurisdictions for COVID-19
Using funds provided to CDC through the HHS Secretary's Transfer, CDC will:
- Award an initial $25 million cooperative agreement to the states and local jurisdictions who have borne the largest burden of response and preparedness activities to date. This is an initial award for those jurisdictions who require immediate assistance for activities such as monitoring of travelers, data management, lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, and surge staffing. Once supplemental funding is provided, support will be provided to all states and local jurisdictions for a variety of critical public health activities. Below is information specific to what State and County Health Departments are receiving in your State:
- Florida: $500 ,000
- Award an initial $10 million cooperative agreement to state and local jurisdictions to begin implementation of coronavirus surveillance across the U.S., building on existing influenza activities and other surveillance systems. This initial award is for a limited number of jurisdictions. Once supplemental funding is provided, additional support will be provided to all states and local jurisdictions to enhancing testing and surveillance.
CDC will use existing networks to reach out to state and local jurisdictions to access this initial funding.
For more information about this virus, please visit CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC’s Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.
For questions about CDC’s response to COVID-19, please contact the CDC Washington Office