Share the facts and stop the fear
The impact of the new coronavirus pandemic is now affecting our day-to-day lives here in Lee County.
Beaches, bars, parks, schools and most gathering places are closed. Restaurants can only provide take-out service.
Grocery stores have shortened the number of hours they are open so that facilities can be sanitized and shelves can be restocked.
Government agencies are closing offices and urging us to access services online.
Businesses are looking at ways to stay open while also implementing processes to protect employees, such as work-from-home policies.
And most importantly, health care agencies and providers from the federal level on down are preparing for an increase in confirmed COVID-19 positives with the emphasis being on mitigating the number of cases by urging us all to limit our exposure while also gearing up for the cases to come.
State officials have ordered additional testing kits, supplies and protective devices and are continuing to establish mobile testing sites, mobile emergency units and field hospitals while working directly with hospitals and large health systems to identify potential vacant wings or buildings to provide additional hospital inpatient capacity should it become necessary.
Florida is in a state of declared Public Health Emergency with Lee County, and some municipals, including the Town of Fort Myers Beach, declaring Local States of Emergency.
What does this mean?
It means we, as an extended community, do what Americans have historically done and done well in times of crisis: Remain calm, eschew rumor for fact, stay informed and make the sacrifices necessary to protect our families and our neighbors.
This is not only hand washing and disinfectant wipes.
To slow the disease, to “flatten the curve” of new cases so as to not overwhelm the health care system and so assure the best care for those not only ill with COVID-19 but all patients in need of critical care, we need to practice “social distancing” and, as much as we can, we need to stay home.
Let us repeat that:
We need to flatten the curve to mitigate, as much as possible, the possibility of “case spikes.”
The Centers For Disease Control sums up the situation succinctly: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
To do that, we need to avoid not only crowds but public gatherings of all sorts. We also need to voluntarily limit unnecessary public interaction meaning if you have the CDC’s recommended two-three weeks worth of food and supplies, stop the toilet paper panic runs to the grocery stores. Really. Limiting exposure, not a wall of duplicate supplies, is your family’s best defense both short- and long-term.
To stay informed, reliable information may be found at two primary websites with a third related to travel: The Department of Health has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage and a related COVID-19 dashboard. The Centers for Disease Control also has a dedicated COVID-19 website while the U.S. Department of State has established a travel advisory website.
Floridians also may call the Department of Health’s dedicated 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
We will add one more source committed to factual information and steady updates.
The Breeze Newspapers is committed to keeping the communities we serve informed throughout this declared health emergency.
We are posting, and then sharing on Facebook and tweeting a @CapeCoralDaily, all government and agency updates as they are received. We will do this daily throughout the duration to provide a single-source site where information provided by local agencies and state updates can be found.
Here, we embrace the state philosophy: Share the facts, Stop Fear.
We urge you to stay safe.
And we invite you to read.