Friday, July 17, 2020

Florida emergency workers test positive for COVID-19

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 10:01 AM

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Four employees of the Florida Division of Emergency Management tested positive Thursday for COVID-19, bringing to 12 the number of division workers with the virus since twice-a-week testing began three weeks ago.

All were asymptomatic and are working from their homes, as are immediate co-workers pending further testing, according to the division, which has been operating at a heightened activation level since February because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The employees are believed to have contracted the virus outside of the Tallahassee emergency-management office, as they don’t work in the same areas, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said.

“The EOC (Emergency Operations Center) is open, we’re operating,” Moskowitz said. The division’s executive team continues to work out of the building, he said.

Even before the recent positive tests, Moskowitz said the office has undergone nightly sanitary spraying, and a requirement was in place for people to wear face masks when inside the building. Protocols have also been set up that will limit occupancy at the Emergency Operations Center if a hurricane threatens the state.

“Usually, we have 600 people running around the floors here. That clearly won’t be happening,” Moskowitz said. “We’re going to be spread out.”

Emergency workers now focused on the pandemic would shift to facilities across the street in the state’s Betty Easley Conference Center if the office is activated for a hurricane.

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