Where can I go for accurate information about COVID-19?
What if I can't pay my City of Punta Gorda water bill?
During the declared State of Emergency water will not be shut off for non-payment.
Is the City of Punta Gorda Building Division still running?
Limited services are available learn more at COVID - 19 Update 3-23-20200001. Or call 941-575-3324 for more information.
What has the State of Florida done in response to COVID- 19?
An executive order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis Friday, March 20, requires all restaurants and food establishments in Florida to be take-out-only. The food establishments are allowed to operate their kitchens, but dining rooms must be closed. Additionally, the Executive Order requires all gymnasiums and fitness centers in Florida to close.
Governor DeSantis ordered all of Florida’s bars and nightclubs closed for 30 days starting March 17 and restaurants must limit their occupancy to half capacity. Additionally, he asked Florida’s university board of governors to require students to return home for remote learning for the rest of the spring semester. Expansion to private laboratories changes the COVID-19 testing landscape in Florida. Private laboratories will run tests as they receive swab samples from practitioners. Testing and reporting times will vary among commercial and DOH laboratories. Demographic information may be updated during investigations.
Governor Desantis has provided several additional updates on Florida’s efforts to respond to COVID-19:
- Governor DeSantis directed Director Moskowitz to expand his emergency order and prohibit all
visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult group homes to all visitors for the next 30 days.
- Governor DeSantis directed the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to suspend
drivers’ license renewal requirements for 30 days.
- Governor DeSantis directed all agencies to suspend for 30 days licensing and registration
renewal requirements for existing processional licenses (e.g. realtors).
- Governor DeSantis sent a letter to the federal Small Business Administration to turn on the SBA loan program for small businesses.
- Governor DeSantis Executive Order 20-82 requires all persons coming from the New York Tri-State Area to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time they enter Florida.
- Governor DeSantis Executive Order 20-83 issues a public health advisory to all persons over 65 years of age urging them to stay home, urging those with underlying medical issues to stay at home and take such other measures as necessary to limit their risk of exposure. The order also prohibits social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people. It also urges those who can work remotely to do so.
- The formal public health advisory from the Florida Department of Health Surgeon General.
- Governor DeSantis enacted Executive Order 20-87 which suspended short term vacation rentals that have a reservation check-in date after today, March 28th. The Executive Order will expire in fourteen days unless it is extended by a subsequent order. Travelers who have already checked into a vacation rental or who will check into their vacation rental by Saturday, March 28th will be allowed to stay for the duration covered by their rental agreement before they have to return home.
- Governor DeSantis also enacted Executive Order 20-86 which was targeted at travelers driving to the state from areas with a substantial community spread (such as Louisana). It built upon Executive Order 20-87 which imposed self-isolation and quarantine restrictions on people flying in from Connecticut, New Jersey or New York.
- Governor DeSantis issued EO 20-91 a Safer at Home order. Charlotte County has put together a F.A.Q to aid in understanding the order https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/Documents/Executive-Order-FAQ.pdf.
What if I think my neighbor is violation the vacation rental order?
Enforcement of the vacation rental order is being handled through the Florida Department of Business Regulation. According to their website to report concerns regarding compliance with Executive Order 20-71 or Executive Order 20-87, please submit information to DBPR through the online complaint form.
Where can community members go to get financial help with basic needs or donate to provide help for those affected?
The Charlotte County Community Organizations Active in a Disaster (COAD) has begun creating a point of entry service for the various needs our residents may have. Eligibility screenings are done through Charlotte County 2-1-1. Funding will range from rental/mortgage, transportation, utilities, childcare, food needs, etc. Simply call 2-1-1 or 941-205-2161 or visit https://coadfl.org . Donations can be made at https://charlottecf.org/donate/.
Where can business owners go for help?
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. Learn more at https://floridadisasterloan.org/.
The Economic Development Partnership website is continually updated with the latest information for business https://cleared4takeoff.com/news_events/article/2309?fbclid=IwAR0HA-7TnyHitybaJ3U5XHM5HZ_mxs1-eHpGJ-goOQj8cS5erG7uWTmzz_M.
The Short Term Compensation Program is available to assist employers with maintaining employees http://floridajobs.org/office-directory/division-of-workforce-services/reemployment-assistance-programs/short-time-compensation-program-for-employees.
Business Owners please be sure to fill out Governor DeSantis's Emergency Business Damage Assessment at https://floridadisaster.biz/.
FGCU’s Regional Economic Research Institute has been asked to conduct a two-part impact study of the coronavirus on Southwest Florida, and in order to complete this in the most effective and timely way, Visit https://fgcucob.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cO22khPeAChvcyx. The results to create a report establishing how the virus is affecting the Southwest Florida economy, which will be shared with you to thank you for your cooperation. Besides allowing us to assess the effects of the virus on our region over time, The survey will be an important part of applications from our area for state and federal relief efforts following this episode. Providing assessments such as the survey results will us to be better prepared when these efforts get under way.
GrowFL Launches Virtual Roundtable to Help Second-stage Business Owners Navigate COVID-19 Fast answers to tough issues - program begins in April Visit GrowFL-VirtualRoundtables.systemforintegratedgrowth.org to register. Through a partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation, GrowFL is launching a Virtual Roundtable program that will allow second-stage business owners to meet April through June to help navigate through the COVID-19 crisis through peer-to-peer collaboration. Virtual PeerSpectives Roundtables quickly put you in contact with other business owners, presidents and CEOs of secondstage companies via a video conferencing app. Sessions are led by trained PeerSpectives® facilitators from the Edward Lowe Foundation. The roundtables leverage a proven set of protocols, giving participants a convenient — and confidential — place to delve into their most pressing issues.
Online Business Resource Center GrowFL COVID-19 Business Resource Center offers a full list of resources and expert articles. https://www.growfl.com/category/covid-19/ NEW - GrowFL COVID-19
Where can parents go for help with food for Charlotte County School children?
The Charlotte County School District has information available at https://www.yourcharlotteschools.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=8&ModuleInstanceID=9370&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=38679&PageID=9&fbclid=IwAR2NSaKX8AepF7M_lxdzgHZJEQ5npdUC9XFHX5tK_UFYN_03entZpd85ATE.
What is happening with people coming in from out of state?
We have received some inquiries about homes in the City being recently occupied by people who are presumably from out of state areas based on their vehicle registration plates. The concern is that many of these vehicle registrations are from states that have been identified as those requiring a 14 day quarantine when people arrive in Florida from those states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Alabama). Please be aware that the Department of Health is monitoring all individuals who have been mandated to be quarantined. The monitoring includes daily calls and random checks to ensure compliance with the quarantine. Any questions or concerns about people suspected of not adhering to the quarantine order should contact the Florida Department of Health. Please keep in mind Keep in mind that we do have people that own homes in Punta Gorda and split their time in between two locations. Just because an out of state license plate is seen doesn't mean that they have recently traveled to the community. In many cases people have been here since last fall.
Where can I get local community information?
Florida Weekly has created a FREE community resource site at www.floridaweekly.com/wearehere.
What additional resources are available?
The World Health Organization offers a comprehensive "myth busting" resource at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters.
People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
The World Health Organization advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Rumor: Antibiotics will kill the new coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the new coronavirus, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.
Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
The COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather and in colder climates.
Florida universities are not closing. Many schools are on spring break during March and some extended that break. Online courses are being expanded, but dorms and food service continue to be open. For information about the 12 state universities, visit https://www.flbog.edu/2020/03/15/statement-on-the-status-of-the-state-university-system/
For information about state colleges, including Florida SouthWestern State College and State College of Florida, visit http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/ and scroll down to Florida College System Closures
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Rumor: Hand dryers can kill COVID-19
Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To protect yourself against COVID-19, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Dry thoroughly using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
Lifespan of virus
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19.
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. The World Health Organization is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
Rumor: Mosquitoes can transmit COVID-19.
The COVID-19 CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Rumor: The new coronavirus was made in a lab.
There is a rumor the virus was probably made in a lab. No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made. SARS-CoV-2 closely resembles two other coronaviruses that have triggered outbreaks in recent decades, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and all three viruses seem to have originated in bats. In short, the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 fall in line with what we know about other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.
The new coronavirus has been traced to an outbreak at a live animal market in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
Rumor: The virus can be transmitted on packages shipped from China or elsewhere.
There is a rumor the virus can be transmitted on packages shipped from China or elsewhere. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
Rumor: Pets can transmit COVID-19.
While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19,
Rumor: Punta Gorda is shutting down restaurants.
Punta Gorda does not oversee the operation of restaurants and bars. On March 17, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days and all restaurants to cut seating capacity by 50%. The state agency overseeing those entities is the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. For information, visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR. Restaurants are open and able to sell both food and alcohol.
On March 20 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the closure of restaurants to on premise consumption of food and alcohol. View the order at Governor DeSantis EO 20-71
Rumor: You can get the coronavirus if you eat at Chinese restaurants in the U.S.
You can't. By that logic, you'd also have to avoid Italian, Korean, Japanese and Iranian restaurants, given that those countries have also been facing an outbreak. The new coronavirus doesn't just affect people of Chinese descent.
Saline nasal spray
Rumor: Saline spray prevent new coronavirus infections.
There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
Charlotte County Public Schools are closed until March 29. For more information about school closures, visit http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/.
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.
However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
Rumor: UV lamps can sterilize skin
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
Rumor: Vaccines for other viruses protect you from the new coronavirus.
Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and the World Health Organization is supporting their efforts.
Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
For more questions and answers about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, visit www.CDC.gov, www.FloridaHealth.gov, https://www.who.int/
Sources: Florida, Florida Department of Health, Florida Board of Governors, Florida Board of Education, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention