A previously unpublicized document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends that dozens of states, including Florida, return to stricter restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.
According to the document dated July 14, and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, Florida should mandate masks, limit gatherings, expand testing, recruit more contact tracers and close bars and gyms.
This article about the coronavirus red zone was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom based in Washington, D.C.
“This morning we found out that the White House has been preparing guidance for our state,” said Congressman Ted Deutch. “Recommendations that they have not shared publicly.”
Congressman Deutch is referring to a 359-page report proposing solutions for counties and cities experiencing a surge in Coronavirus Cases.
The biggest takeaway from the document is the recommendation that hard-hit Florida Counties, including Palm Beach, a rollback on reopening.
Florida is considered a ‘red zone’ state for the number of cases and ‘red zone’ for the number of percent positive cases.
“None of us want to go through another shutdown, but here’s the thing, the governors unsafe and reckless rush to reopen, maybe the very thing that forces our state to shut down again,” said Deutch.
According to the report, 22 counties and dozens of Florida cities are considered ‘red zones’ and should consider taking the following actions:
- mandating masks
- closing bars
- closing gyms
- limiting restaurants to 25 percent capacity
- limit social gatherings to 10 people or less
- expand testing
- recruit more contact tracers
Port St. Lucie and Palm Beach County are considered ‘red zones.’ While Vero Beach, Melbourne, Sebastian and Indian River County are considered ‘yellow zone.’
Recommendations for Red Zone areas include asking people to wear a mask, limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people, and reducing public interaction and activities by 25 percent.
Recommendations for Yellow Zone areas include asking people to wear a mask, limiting gatherings to fewer than 25 people, and reducing public interaction and activities by 50 percent.
The locations were selected based on the highest number of new cases reported over the last 3 weeks.
St. Lucie County currently has a mask mandate that went into effect on July 15, 2020. A spokesperson says the county is expanding testing and working to hire more nurses, disease investigators, contact tracers, administrative support and health educators.
They also are offering secure congregate housing for COVID-19 positive patients, as needed.
Indian River County, which falls in the yellow zone, is also following guidance from the governor.
“Guidance is always very helpful, even if it’s not mandatory guidelines, recommendations are always very helpful,” said spokesperson Brian Sullivan.
Congressman Deutch believes the state needs to do more right now.