Kimberly Norman - Public Relations Associate
April 2, 2020
Please Note: Due to the nature of information being released frequently regarding COVID-19, changes at the local, state and federal level may have occurred since answers were provided.
Everyone is stuck at home, following the rules, needing entertainment. We have some great Flagler County/Palm Coast websites, full of film and information. Can you promote https://palmcoasthistory.org/ and https://www.flaglercountyhistoricalsociety.com?
Parks & Recreation has added the two websites to their list of external resources for activities. They will also feature them on the Parks & Recreation Facebook page in the month of April. Parks & Rec also offers virtual activities and resources. You can read more here: [https://www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/parks-and-recreation].
Why close the walking/bike trails. I have enjoyed them for years and there are no large groups of people. It is our only escape for mental and physical health.
At the direction of Governor DeSantis and to successfully uphold CDC guidance to maximize social distancing and avoid gatherings larger than 10 people, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection closed all Florida State Parks to the public effective Monday, March 23 to best protect public health and safety as Florida continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The City of Palm Coast followed the example of our local partners at the Flagler County Emergency Management Office and closed down all playgrounds, park pavilions, and restrooms to the public on Friday, March 20 which was quickly followed by the county's decision to close all beaches effective Monday, March 23. The City closed all parks and trails in conjunction with this order to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
We are practicing social distancing to the extreme. We have to avoid contact and flatten the curve. We know this has changed the way we interact, shop, and the way we recreate. Additionally, public restrooms have been closed. This action contributes to helping get us over this more quickly.
I know this is not super important in this time, but is the Mayor's 90/90 challenge still going on? My husband and I both had almost 90 miles completed but now I can't find the challenge anywhere to complete our miles. Thanks I'm advance! :)
Due to the critical nature and frequency of information the city needs to communicate about the COVID-19 virus, the Mayor's 90/90 mile logging feature has been temporarily removed from Palm Coast Connect. This does not mean that the challenge is over - it will be back! Please continue to be active and make sure to log your miles, through an external app or using pen and paper. Once we are back to normal operations, we will enable mile logging - you will be able to backdate your miles - and announce a new end date. For information about ways to safely recreate, visit palmcoastconnect.com/s/parks-and-recreation.
When do you plan to reopen Palm Harbor Golf Club?
Unfortunately we do not have a specific date for the reopening of any City of Palm Coast Parks & Recreation facility, including the Palm Harbor Golf Club. We are following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as our local partners the Flagler County Emergency Management Office and Florida Department of Health. These closures have been made in an attempt to reduce introduction of COVID-19 into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. Any reopening dates will depend upon many factors, including further recommendations from the CDC, Flagler County Emergency Management Office, and the Florida Department of Health. We empathize with you and all of our residents in missing our wonderful parks, trails, and recreation activities. While it is closed, we have been using the time to perform critical maintenance and rehabilitate several keys areas, holes and the clubhouse building. We think you'll love the extra attention and energy and will notice the improvements once it's back open.
The Governor's Executive Order 20-82 requires a 14 day self-quarantine for individuals arriving from the Tri-State area (NY, NJ and Conn). Please explain in detail how self-quarantine is defined. What activities are permitted and what are not. How many positive tested hospitalized patients are currently being treated at AdventHealth Palm Coast? And how prepared is the hospital for an increase in patients?
These individuals should self-isolate in their hotel or vacation home for 14 days. This means extreme social distancing and only going out for groceries and necessities. It does not mean going to a community pool or playing golf, according to the Flagler County Health Department.
On March 24, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-82, directing all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. He has the power to enforce with the sheriff. We have also joined the State and County in suspending vacation rentals for two weeks to help avoid further inbound non-essential travel.
Additionally, AdventHealth has a Coronavirus Information Line, 877-VIRUSHQ, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It serves as a one-stop-shop to connect Floridians with resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. While the phone line is not intended to replace a physician-patient relationship, nurses can answer general medical questions and will refer the caller to the appropriate next steps, such as connecting them to a nurse, AdventHealth Centra Care or other health care provider. We also have a link to their frequently asked questions: [https://www.adventhealth.com/business/adventhealth-orlando-media-resources/news/frequently-asked-questions-updated-march-27-2020].
The City of Palm Coast is supporting AdventHealth as a critical community partner. We have remained in constant communication with AdventHealth leaders. AdventHealth has been planning, mobilizing and preparing for this event for some time.
Where are testing facilities?
According to the Flagler County Health Department, the primary testing facilities are urgent care facilities like Mediquick and Centracare, as well as the hospital, Azalea Health and the Health Department. In most cases, testing is by appointment after the individual is screened over the telephone and meets the current testing criteria.
When will the testing be available to everyone, even to those who do not have the main "big 3 symptoms"?
That's difficult to say, according to the Flagler County Health Department, as it will depend on the speed to which more testing supplies are developed and distributed. The health department also said if people have some symptoms and cannot get the test, they should stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.
When will we have more testing available without these stringent requirements and when will it NOT take 10 days for results?
Again, that's difficult to say as it will depend on the speed to which more testing supplies are developed and distributed, according to the Flagler County Health Department.
When are you going to completely shut everything down?
Please refer to the following update that occurred following the town hall. [https://www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/news-news/4618/city-of-palm-coast-issuing-mandatory-shelter-in-place-effective-friday-april-3-at-1201-am]
How long is the stay order expected to last?
Again, please refer to the following update that occurred following the town hall. [https://www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/news-news/4618/city-of-palm-coast-issuing-mandatory-shelter-in-place-effective-friday-april-3-at-1201-am]
Will there be a mandated stay at home order from the city of Palm Coast?
Again, please refer to the following update that occurred following the town hall. [https://www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/news-news/4618/city-of-palm-coast-issuing-mandatory-shelter-in-place-effective-friday-april-3-at-1201-am]
Is moving to or from a home in Palm Coast to either inside or outside the county considered essential travel under the current stay at home orders?
If you are asking about moving from one physical location to another in Palm Coast, as in closing on a house or if the lease is up, you can do that under the voluntary order. We do remind you of the Governor's EO from persons traveling to Florida from area of high community spread.
What is the plan for medical facilities if our hospital is overrun?
According to the Flagler County Health Department, the Flagler County Emergency Management, the Department of Health, AdventHealth Palm Coast and other community partners are collaborating to develop contingency plans to address the prospect of overcrowded hospitals. AdventHealth is taking the lead on this effort. Currently, the hospital has bed capacity, including the ICU.
The City of Palm Coast and other stakeholders have been partnering with Advent Health to deliver space, resources and personnel to avoid this from happening. This question underscores the need to social distance to the extreme, follow the City of Palm Coast, Flagler County and the Governor's Executive Orders, limit movement and wash your hands frequently, etc.
Flagler County Emergency Management officials have also been working to ensure the necessary PPE, equipment and personal resources to get through this event. People are working to reduce this possibility.
Palm Coast residents are concerned about New Yorkers come down that or not self-quarantining. Are there any protocols to monitor the situation? How is the situation being policed? Who is involved in the decision making process in how to deal with COVID-19? Are you happy with the way the department of health is handling everything regarding COVID-19? Specifically in how the department is communicating?
According to the Flagler County Health Department, these individuals are expected to self-comply. If the Department of Health hears about a violation of this executive order, law enforcement will be notified.
As for who is involved the decision making process on COVID-19 for the City, our Fire Capt. Thomas Ascone, City Manager Matthew Morton, and our Fire Chief Jerry Forte are our main contacts in the city with Capt. Ascone as the lead and liaison for the city in conjunction with other agencies such as Flagler County Government, the health department, and others.
The following information is from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office: Regarding isolating or quarantining for people either suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 or if they travel to Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State area or Louisiana, the Sheriff's Office position is education first and enforcement as a last resort. Our deputies would first attempt to determine if in fact the person(s) has traveled to FL from the New York Tri-State area or Louisiana. If they have they will be educated on the Governor's executive order (2020-03) instructing the individual(s) to isolate or quarantine themselves for a period of fourteen (14) days from the time of entry into Flagler County or for the duration of the individual's presence in Flagler County, whichever is shorter. Violations of this order are a 2nd degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. The Florida Department of Health is the body of the State government responsible for enforcement of this executive order and counties are to alert them upon notification of violations of this order. The lodging establishment or any person or entity that is subject to the local Tourist Development Tax (lodging facility) shall prepare a continuing report of the names of any individuals from the New York Tri-State area or Louisiana occupying a room within the lodging facility. The report shall identify such individuals upon acceptance of a reservation or a check-in at the lodging facility. The report shall further include the city and state of origin of such individuals. The lodging facility shall provide its report under oath when requested or directed by the Flagler County Health Department of by Flagler County or State law enforcement. The lodging facility shall provide all guests from the New York Tri-State area of from Louisiana with a copy of the isolation and quarantine order. These bookings had to occur prior to March 28, 2020 as no bookings are allowed at these facilities after March 28, 2020. So when a person(s) comes into FL from an area with substantial community spread to include the New York Tri-State area and Louisiana and stays at a hotel, motel or other rental facility, the facility is responsible for notifying the County of the rental and also for notifying the renter of the State executive order. If the traveler stays with family and not at a rental facility, they should have been informed of the executive order at one of the state checkpoints (if they drove) or at the airport (if they flew) and the individual is responsible for quarantining themselves.
Please watch the video of the town hall for more to this answer.
What are we doing with people coming from Hotspot areas of the country?
As mentioned in previous questions, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Orders 20-80 and 20-82 as it relates to those entering the state of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.
Please also see the information provided by the sheriff's office in the previous question.
I heard that the city has toilet paper if people run out, is this true and if so, how do I go about getting some?
Last weekend, the city offered residents 65 and older or those with underlying conditions two rolls of toilet paper per household. It was a limited supply
We identified this need by tracking cases and FAQ's submitted through Palm Coast Connect and your virtual City Hall. This underscores Palm Coast Connect and your virtual City Hall as a resource for crisis information, communication and resources. When we learned that toilet paper was a critical issue in the city, we moved swiftly through our industrial suppliers to secure toilet paper for our residents. These industrial suppliers don't compete with local business (grocery, etc) supply chain.
We will continue to do our best to assist residents in need, especially our most vulnerable residents and distribute additional toilet paper as resources become available.
If I become sick and suspect possible virus infection what are the recommended steps to take and any alternative actions if any of the recommended steps cannot be accomplished for whatever non-specific reason.
Speak to your healthcare provider first on this… The CDC has provided some guidance to this on their website here [https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html].
What Personal Protection Supplies are needed? And where can they be dropped off?
The Health Department continues to monitor and order the supplies and personal protection supplies needed to conduct testing. At the present, they have an adequate supply on hand, according to the Flagler County Health Department.
I would like to get a daily account of how many residents of Palm Coast are currently hospitalized with COVID-19...not names of course, but perhaps age groups and locations where they live.
The number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 can be found at https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86. These numbers are updated twice daily at 11am and 6pm, according to the health department, and this data includes the number of individuals who are hospitalized.
How is the governor's statute for a 14 day self-isolation being enforced? EG...snowbirds and Airbnb guests from the northeast?
Governor DeSantis issued Executive Orders 20-80 and 20-82 as it relates to those entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.
The Executive Order says "it shall be the duty of every state and county attorney, sheriff, police officer, and other appropriate city and county officials upon request to assist the [Department of Health]" in enforcing any isolation or quarantine or order of the Department of Health issued pursuant to this Order. Any person who violates any isolation or quarantine directed by the Department of Health commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both. And as we mentioned, please also see the sheriff's office position in the earlier similar question.
Does Palm Coast have their own healthcare consultants analyzing, communicating, suggesting mitigation measures, and implement strategies in dealing with COVID-19? I would also suggest combating the fake news, skewed numbers, and fear mongering. Is the city implementing any social programs directed to the elderly, homeless and poor? Will Pc be forgiving or delaying utility payments.
We have an emergency management team employed by the City that handles our response to major events like COVID-19, hurricanes, wildfires, etc. This team is comprised of members of the fire department and human resources who are trained in medical, emergency and safety response. They also use guidance from local, state and federal partners along with guidance from the CDC.
As for social programs and those questions relating to utility payments, last week the City announced it is suspending water service shut-offs for non-payment of City utility bills and will not charge fees for late water and sewer utility payments until further notice. The changes are part of the City's efforts to ease the strain on City utility customers during widespread closures of schools and small businesses due to COVID-19.
Revenue received from utility customers is how the city meets its expenses and is able to continue to provide water, sewer and solid waste services. Utility accounts will still be assessed for accrued usage charges.
If you are facing financial difficulty and cannot afford to pay your water bill at this time, please contact Customer Service at 386-986-2360 to see if any arrangements can be made.
For financial assistance resources with utility billing, please visit fpl.com/help/payment-assistance.html for possible assistance with FPL bills and usa.gov/help-with-bills for Federal Government Lifeline Program for assistance with energy and telephone bills.
During this time, the City is asking its utility customers to use payment options such as online, by phone, our two drop boxes or by mail other than coming to City Hall or the utility office to pay in person. We have that information on Palm Coast Connect at this link [https://www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/news-news/4602/city-of-palm-coast-utility-announcement].
How many COVID-19 cases are in Palm Coast? Deaths?
Please see the Florida Department of Health dashboard here: [https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86}. For more details about COVID-19 in Florida, visit www.floridahealthcovid19.gov.
How is Palm Coast doing regarding number of cases in comparison to other counties and cities of similar size in Florida?
Again, the best way to see cases by county in Florida is to view the Florida Department of Health dashboard. See the links in the previous question.
With such a low rate of virus infection in Palm Coast/Flagler County why are beaches closed?
We are practicing social distancing to the extreme due to the importance of limiting the spread and saving lives. Flagler County closed its beaches by an emergency order effective March 23 in concert with action taken by the City of Flagler Beach. According to Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord, both the county and city of Flagler Beach were kept open as long as it was reasonably safe to do so, but were ultimately closed for the safety of residents and visitors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Flagler Beach has said a Public Service Announcement will be released when the Beach, Boardwalk and Pier are deemed safe to re-open for public usage.
Will schools remain closed through this summer?
While the brick and mortar buildings are currently shuttered, school is still very much in session. The school district unveiled its Virtual Learning program Monday, March 30th. While the original plan was to have this in place through April 15th, Florida's Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced late Monday afternoon that all schools will keep their virtual teaching plans in place through May 1st. They will make a determination on re-opening school campuses as we get closer to that May 1st date. For more information, visit the schools tab on the Virtual City Hall at palmcoastconnect.com.
Will any of our public boat ramps be closed?
There are no boat ramps in the city. We do have kayak ramps, and they are closed. The boat ramps were not included in the closure order, but the parks are closed and the parking lot in the parks are closed. A person is unable to utilize the park to launch their boat. Please reach out to Flagler County Government for further clarification.
Does our police force have the necessary equipment to protect them whenever we call on them? They should be issued personal gloves and mask.
According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, deputies do have gloves and masks to protect them when they go on calls and the sheriff's office has ordered additional and are awaiting their arrival.
Will there be any freebies or free activities available for Palm Coast residents?
The City of Palm Coast's Parks & Recreation department is offering a number of virtual recreation programs, as well as maintaining lists of external resources for recreation activities. All of these are offered to the public at no cost. For more information about virtual recreation, please visit Parks & Recreation at palmcoastconnect.com/s/parks-and-recreation
I applaud our small town government for ordering a "stay at home policy" followed by the closing of beaches and parks etc. You were ahead of most large cities in Florida. You helped save lives and decrease the spread. Do you see opportunities to promote Palm Coast as a business friendly town after witnessing the areas of need in light manufacturing the COVID-19 crisis has exposed such as PPE's and ventilator manufacturing?
Palm Coast is business friendly. The City has enacted changes in the last year especially to promote that to the community. In terms of which businesses could come here in the future, we'll have to see. In the meantime, we do have a Business Resource Center section on Palm Coast Connect for our current businesses who may need help during this time.
Please elaborate on the resources available for residents who lost their jobs due to the current situation.
Inside the Business Resource Center on Palm Coast Connect's Virtual City Hall, we have a variety of helpful information with local, state and federal resources. It's broken down by those categories. The agencies handling those items are also listed. We continue to add resources to that page. So check back often for more information.
Does the City have a plan to roll out the eventual re-opening of City facilities and businesses? Would it be based on sections of the City, age groups or businesses? Other?
We have been planning and preparing for this event since mid-February. Right now, we are tracking the CDC, FDOH and University of Washington Spread Modeling. We will open facilities when it is safe and prudent to do so. Keep it mind that once COVID-19 is under control, we will need some time to sanitize and prepare facilities.
As for businesses currently open, we have a growing list on Palm Coast Connect inside the Business Resource Center.
How can we be of assistance?
Stay home and practice social distancing guidelines as set by the CDC to slow the spread. Register for a free Palm Coast Connect account and log your concerns or issues so we can track resources and respond efficiently. Please also stay engaged with these virtual town hall meetings and don't contribute to sharing misinformation. Your Virtual City Hall exists to provide complete, accurate and timely information and resources.
Also, while you're at home adhering to social distancing guidelines and emergency orders, you can complete your census survey for your community. Visit [2020Census.gov] for more information.
Is microwaving US currency (paper money) effective in killing potential coronavirus surface contamination?
We have not found any information on microwaving from experts or from official sources of information.
Generally speaking, a question on the CDC's website states, "What temperature kills the virus that causes COVID-19?'
The answer from the CDC's website states, "Generally coronaviruses survive for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don't have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point. The necessary temperature would also be based on the materials of the surface, the environment, etc. Regardless of temperature please follow CDC's guidance for cleaning and disinfection." [source: CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html]
What have been the challenges with operating a virtual city hall?
A challenge in operating City Hall virtually has been adapting to change. A lot of staff have not had the opportunity to work from home and take calls. We took the challenges and changed some ways we operate to make sure we could provide the same services to the community. We had some residents that didn't feel that they could do things like submitting a permit online. But with the help of staff, they were able to walk them through the process and it was a success.
If you have additional questions, you can submit them through Palm Coast Connect or call the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center available 24/7 at 1 (866) 779-6121 or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org