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Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez updates community on COVID-19

MIAMI ( March 02, 2020 )

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez met today with leaders of local community senior services to prepare for the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"We want to safeguard the health of our elderly and those with compromised immune systems," Mayor Gimenez said. "When the Zika virus was a threat, we focused on protecting pregnant women, since they were the most vulnerable members of our population. For COVID-19, the focus at this time is senior citizens."

Anyone who has a fever, body aches or other flu-like symptoms should contact the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade at 305-324-2400. They will be told how to proceed so as to not risk spreading COVID-19 at doctors' offices and hospitals.

For information on COVID-19, call the state hotline at 866-779-6121 or send an email to [email protected] 

The leaders at the Mayor's meeting discussed strategies for ensuring the security of the seniors at local community senior centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Mayor Gimenez is encouraging everyone who has not yet received the influenza vaccine to contact their health care provider to see if they can be vaccinated.

"Keeping our population healthy and our hospital beds and emergency rooms free from those who have the regular flu frees up resources we may need for future use," Mayor Gimenez said. "While there are still no confirmed cases in Miami-Dade, I believe that it is now a matter of 'when,' not 'if' we will be dealing with cases."

The same precautions used to prevent the spread of influenza apply for the spread of the Coronavirus. People should:

- Wash their hands regularly

- Use hand sanitizer

- Avoid touching their eyes and faces

- Cover their face with a tissue or their arm if they cough or sneeze

- Use alcohol or bleach to clean all "high-touch" surfaces every day, such as shared workspaces, tables and doorknobs, since the virus can remain on smooth surfaces for several 14 days

- Avoid contact when greeting people, replacing a handshake or kiss with a nod of the head

In addition to the prevention steps above, sick people should:

- Stay home, except to get medical care

- Separate themselves from other people and animals in their homes

- Call before visiting the doctor

- Wear a facemask when around other people to prevent the spreading of germs

- Avoid sharing personal household items

- Monitor their symptoms

- Remain in home isolation until advised by their healthcare provider that they are no longer at risk of secondary transmission to others 

Most of the reported cases of the virus, which causes respiratory disease COVID-19, are in China. The virus has also been identified in patients in South Korea, Italy, Japan, Iran and other nations. Anyone who has traveled to these countries and feels any of these symptoms should quarantine themselves. For the latest related travel information, click here.

There have been two cases reported in Florida.

The proportion of infected people who die appears to be around 2%, although the World Health Organization cautions that the mortality rate is not yet known.

For more information on the Coronavirus, visit CDC.gov.