Lee County passes emergency resolution to contain Coronavirus spread

Posted at 9:24 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:26:56-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla.  — The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Monday unanimously to approve a resolution adopting measures to limit the risk of exposure to Coronavirus.

Commissioners say this is the strongest message they can send to get you to limit your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The resolution, approved in an emergency meeting, codifies concepts outlined in the Florida Surgeon General's Public Health Advisory of March 25.

This resolution says if you're 65 or older, have a health condition that makes you a virus target, or if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, you need to stay home.

The resolution also limits groups to no more than ten people, while still mainting social distance.

It also asks businessed to limit their onsite workforce to fifty-percent and use telework when possible.

While the resolution is not a stay-at-home-order, Commissioner Brain Hamman says people have a moral obligation to follow the guidelines.

"We have to find a new normal here in Lee County where we get used to only interacting with people who live in the same house as us," said Commissioner Hamman, Chairman of Board of County Commissioners.

Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais says a stay-at-home order would be difficult to define and to enforce.

Commissioner Hamman says a stay-at-home order is not feasible right now, adding that putting people in their homes for an indefinite amount of time is a direct threat to their health.

"We're seeing domestic violence on the rise, we're seeing people lose their jobs, we're seeing the potential for more depression, more suicide, more poverty, more hunger," said Hamman.

"I think the job loses that we're seeing are doing just as much damage to people's health right now, to healthy people who are not infected with that disease," he added.

Dr. Lawrence Antonucci, with Lee Health, asked commissioners Monday to do everything possible to maintain social distancing.

"I will also share with you that Lee County now is showing the highest mortality rate of any county in Florida, we may be second, but we're certainly in the top two," said Dr. Antonucci.

But it's not just about the mortality rate; it's also about "flattening the curve."

Physician Doug Brust with Lee Health says, "flattening the curve" is to help with a healthcare facility's capacity to care for patients.

Dr. Brust says during an epidemic, there is a rapid increase in cases.

"Unlike our seasonal flu, where there is a trickling of cases, but you're not getting, for example, 52 [cases] and then in 5 days you have 164 [cases]," said Dr. Brust.

The Board's resolution supplements communication campaign efforts – both ongoing and previously taken – targeting a reduction in person-to-person contact.

Key messages include: social distancing, slow the spread, and stay home.

The resolution approved Monday remains in effect until it is repealed or the State of Local Emergency expires.

To read full resolution, click here.