Following the announcement of two presumptive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued the following:
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-51
(Establishes COVID-19 Response Protocol and Directs Public Health Emergency)
WHEREAS, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission and presents with symptoms similar to those of influenza; and
WHEREAS, in late 2019, a new and significant outbreak of COVID-19 emerged in China; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern; and
WHEREAS, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has deemed it necessary to prohibit or restrict non-essential travel to or from those countries; and
WHEREAS, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Japan, the CDC has advised older travelers and those with chronic medical conditions to avoid nonessential travel and all travelers to exercise enhanced precautions; and
WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends community preparedness and everyday prevention measures be taken by all individuals and families in the United States, including voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60%-95% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects to increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak; and
WHEREAS, two individuals in the State of Florida tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, including a resident of Manatee County and a resident of Hillsborough County; and
WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends mitigation measures in communities with COVID-19 cases, including staying at home when sick, keeping away from others who are sick and staying at home when a household member is sick with respiratory disease symptoms or if instructed to do so by public health officials or a health care provider; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate to take action to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Florida remain safe and secure;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (1)(a) of the Florida Constitution, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:
Section 1. Because of the foregoing conditions, I direct the State Health Officer and Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees, to declare a public health emergency in the State of Florida, pursuant to his authority in section 381.00315, Florida Statutes. The State Health Officer is authorized and directed to use his judgment as to the duration of this public health emergency.
Section 2. In accordance with section 381.0011(7), Florida Statutes, I direct the State Health Officer to take any action necessary to protect the public health.
Section 3. I direct the State Health Officer to follow the guidelines established by the CDC in establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 and educate the public on prevention.
Section 4. In accordance with section 381.0011(7), Florida Statutes, I designate the Florida Department of Health as the lead state agency to coordinate emergency response activities among the various state agencies and local governments. The State Health Officer, or his designee, shall advise the Executive Office of the Governor on the implementation of these emergency response activities.
Section 5. All actions taken by the State Health Officer with respect to this emergency before the issuance of this Executive Order are ratified.
Section 6. The Florida Department of Health will actively monitor, at a minimum, all persons meeting the definition of a Person Under Investigation (“PUI”) as defined by the CDC for COVID-19 for a period of at least 14 days or until the PUI tests negative for COVID-19. Active monitoring by the Florida Department of Health will include at least the following:
Risk assessment within 24 hours of learning an individual meets the criteria for a PUI.
Twice-daily temperature checks.
Section 7. The Florida Department of Health, pursuant to its authority in section 381.00315, Florida Statutes, will ensure that all individuals meeting the CDC’s definition of a PUI are isolated or quarantined for a period of 14 days or until the person tests negative for COVID-19.
Section 8. I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to make its own determinations as to quarantine, isolation and other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law.
Section 9. I direct all agencies under the direction of the Governor to fully cooperate with the Florida Department of Health, and any representative thereof in furtherance of this Order. Agencies not under the direction of the Governor are requested to provide such assistance as is required.