Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 9 declared a state of emergency to free up resources and relax restrictions to help the state work to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
In addition, Putnam, Flagler and Alachua counties are each under a state of local emergency.
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Here are the measures being taken in Putnam, Flagler and Alachua counties amid the coronavirus pandemic:
The Putnam County Board of County Commissioners has declared a local state of emergency to assist in the response to the coronavirus in Putnam County.
As of Tuesday, there were two confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Putnam County. Officials urge frequent handwashing and social distancing.
Putnam County, along with the Putnam County Health Department, has created a call center for the community to address frequently asked questions, as well as questions about testing and any concerns with COVID-19. The call center phone line is 386-329-1904. The call center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Putnam County Emergency Operation Centers will be instituting enhanced screening procedures prior to entry to the EOC. Everyone reporting to the EOC should be prepared to answer screening questions and have their temperature taken before entering.
The Putnam County Clerk of Courts said jury duty scheduled for March 16 and March 23 was canceled. Those summoned to appear on those dates were released from their obligation. All hearings and non-jury events will be held as scheduled unless you are contacted otherwise. If you have questions regarding non-jury events, call 386-326-7600.
On Monday, it was announced that all Putnam County Board of County Commission departments, except for emergency services and the landfill, will be closed to the general public beginning Wednesday, March 25, until further notice.
“Due to the escalation of this virus, this action was needed to add another level of protection for our staff and public, while ensuring services were not eliminated for the foreseeable future,” said Putnam County Administrator Terry Suggs.
If you need assistance, you can visit main.putnam-fl.com/. Once there, click on the link titled “service requests” and complete the required fields and a service ticket will be forwarded to the appropriate county staff for processing. You may also schedule an in-person appointment, to include construction inspection requests and codes cases with county staff by following the same process listed above. The landfill has implemented social distancing measures and there may be delays in depositing your refuse at the landfill. If you are unable to reach a staff member, please call the main number at 386-329-0201 for immediate assistance.
Due to the necessity of using library staff in functions to address COVID-19, effective Wednesday, March 25, all libraries in Putnam County will be closed until further notice. During this closure, please visit the library webpage located at youseemore.com/putnam/ for online services.
School district rolling out distance learning plan
With students not returning to campus until mid-April, the Putnam County School District is rolling out a distance learning plan for them once spring break ends.
In a statement released Wednesday, March 18, Superintendent Dr. Rick Surrency said school will resume on March 30 through an “online and home learning” environment that will give students the opportunity to finish their current grade level on schedule.
He said the school district will be sending out a survey to parents in an effort to find out what the instructional needs are for individual students to adapt to the new way of doing things.
In the same statement, the superintendent assured district employees that plans are in the works for when they return to work on campus.
He encouraged parents and employees with questions and concerns to call the school district instead of visiting the district office in person. The district’s phone line is 386-329-0538.
Last week, Flagler County declared a state of local emergency during the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting. Flagler County had not been notified of a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 at that time, but Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord asked the Commission to approve the declaration in an abundance of caution.
“We are taking action to ensure we keep our citizens safe,” Lord said. “It’s prudent to be cautious right now. A little inconvenience is worth it to limit the number of cases we see.”
The day prior, Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland signed a proclamation declaring a local state of emergency for the city.
“It allows our staff to take the necessary actions to address the emergency situations that may arise along with accessing the necessary federal and state support,” Holland said.
As of Monday, there were three confirmed cases of COVID-19 for Flagler County residents, and officials previously announced a Volusia County patient is in Flagler County.
Lord is asking Flagler County residents not to focus on the number of COVID-19 cases and to focus instead on the one thing that will keep the community safe: follow the public health guidelines established by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are asking people of all ages to adhere to the guidance provided by health officials,” Lord said. “Everyone is hearing ‘flatten the curve’ and following these guidelines is the best way to ensure this happens. It’s really about personal responsibility, and protecting our entire community.”
Flagler County said it will work closely to implement additional public protective measures as they become necessary. The Emergency Management team has been working with the county’s municipalities and private sector partners to better address the needs of residents.
The following measures are in place, some by state executive order:
- All gatherings, including at the beach, are limited to no more than 10 people, and people should distance themselves from others by 6 feet.
- Restaurants are immediately limited to 50% of their current building occupancy and must maintain a minimum of 6 feet between groups of patrons, and those groups are to be limited to no more than 10.
- All bars, pubs and nightclubs are to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages.
- The Flagler County Public Library System is now closed to the general public, but staff will work with limited services available by calling 386-446-6763. (See more below)
- Flagler County has modified its Adult Daycare and Wickline Senior Services to become a meal delivery service, and all clients have been notified.
- Community Centers and county park pavilions are closed through April 30.
Officials urge all residents and businesses to follow Department of Health and CDC guidance, including:
- Washing your hands often.
- Staying home when possible.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
Anyone with government services questions should call Flagler County’s main telephone line to get further clarification. The number is 386-313-4000. All COVID-19 related questions should be directed to the hotline. That number is 866-779-6121.
Check for current information on Flagler County’s website www.flaglercounty.org, and follow “Flagler County Government” or “Flagler County Emergency Management on Facebook or Twitter. The county’s social media team will provide updates through these official accounts:
Flagler County’s Economic Development office launched FlaglerOpen4.biz to allow local businesses to create a listing of services for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses can complete a survey that allows them to do the following: Provide information about availability and services to the public and control the information business owners need the community to know.
“We need to work together to keep our economy healthy and maintain our quality of life,” Economic Development Manager Kat Friel. “We are asking everyone to share this information because this is more than a sustainability tool. It’s a platform to springboard recovery.”
Flagler County’s Geographic Information System team worked with Friel and her business partners at the Chamber and the tourism office to devise a plan to get business information to the public.
“Both the business team and the GIS team are very forward-thinking,” said GIS Manager Darlene Pardiny. “We’ve been collaborating since the weekend in what has proven to be a very fluid process.”
The result is a survey for businesses and a corresponding interactive map for the community, accessible at FlaglerOpen4.biz.
Personal protective equipment, toilet paper donations sought
Medical offices and individuals that have personal protective equipment (PPE) -- or spare toilet paper -- are asked to donate those items at a drive-through collection site on Wednesday and Thursday at Rymfire Elementary School.
Specifically, the personal protective equipment most needed for first responders, assisted living facilities, and public healthcare professionals are facemasks, gloves, and isolation/procedure gowns. Toilet paper is being collected for those most in need.
“We are doing everything we can to keep our residents healthy and safe – this includes taking care of our first responders,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “Toilet paper keeps flying off the shelves, and we have a need to get some to our most vulnerable community members. They need to stay home -- not going out to the store daily in search of toilet paper.”
Drop off times are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday. Rymfire Elementary is located at 1425 Rymfire Drive at Royal Palm Parkway.
Questions should be directed to Flagler Volunteer Services at 386-416-7922.
Beaches, parks, community centers closing
Flagler County will close its beaches by emergency order, effective at 6 a.m. Monday.
The City of Flagler Beach will also close city beaches, the boardwalk and the pier at the same time. They will remain closed until further notice.
“Both of our entities kept the beaches open as long as it was reasonably safe to do so,” said Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “For the safety of our residents and visitors, we need to close all of our beaches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.”
The emergency order was signed Sunday afternoon by County Administrator Jerry Cameron.
The emergency order not only closes the beaches in Flagler County until further notice, but also parks, community centers, pavilions, camping areas and associated facilities.
“The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state -- and elsewhere in the country -- continue to rise,” Lord said. “We have to balance individuals’ desires to be out and about with safety of the entire community. We are trying to limit areas where social distancing and sanitation may be more difficult to regulate.”
The emergency order also encompasses all facilities of the parks and community centers, including parking lots, restrooms, dune walkovers and the dry sand beach.
The CDC guidelines stipulate that all gatherings should be limited to 10 people or fewer, and 6 feet of distance should be maintained.
Flagler County Public Library System is now closed to the general public but staff will work with limited services available at reduced hours that will go into effect Monday.
“Use of online resources and e-books is recommended as much as possible,” Director Holly Albanese said. “You may call or use the online catalog to have items pulled from the shelves. Once an item is pulled you will be notified via phone, email or text message. The patron will then be required to call customer service prior to arrival, and staff will bring items to front door.”
A photo ID will be needed for Library pick-up. All fines will be suspended until further notice. The County IT Department extended wifi reach into the parking lot so patrons won’t have to leave the vehicle to gain access. Please call the Library 386-446-6763 for additional information.
The new hours are as follows:
- Main: Mon – Friday 9-6 and Saturday 9-5
- Bunnell: Mon/Wed 9-1; Tue/Thu 1-5; and Friday 9-5
Facility protective measures start Monday to ensure public, employee safety
Public entryways at the Government Services Building and the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center beginning Monday, March 23, (will be limited to a single point of entry at a handicap accessible door, and visitors will be screened to ensure they are not running a temperature.
“The goal is to mitigate potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” Lord said. “Those who are running a temperature higher than the 100.4 degree threshold will be denied access, and provided with the phone number to the office they need to reach.”
Personnel will take temperatures and issue a wristband or sticker to those cleared to enter. A visitor log will capture name, contact information, reason for visiting, as well as the destination floor and office.
“We appreciate everyone’s cooperation,” Lord said. “We need to be vigilant to flatten the curve.”
Worker, business assistance becomes available
Assistance is now available for workers and businesses adversely affected by closures and social distancing measures required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those residents whose employment has been negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. Go to www.floridajobs.org and click on Reemployment Assistance Service Center to learn more about the program, or go to frequently asked questions.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as of Wednesday, March 18, is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by coronavirus.
Small Business Administration Resource Partners information is available at www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in aid to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue resulting from the disaster. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
Interest rates are as low as 3.75 percent for businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. The Small Business Administration sets loan amounts based on the applicant’s financial situation.
To apply, go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. Questions should be directed to the Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program on Monday, March 16, to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. The application period runs through May 8.
Flagler County monitors beach, resort areas to ensure compliance
Flagler County is using assets like its FireFlight helicopter to monitor beach and resort areas to ensure residents and visitors are in compliance with the social distancing standards set by the CDC.
The CDC guidelines stipulate that all gatherings should be limited to 10 people or fewer, and 6 feet of distance should be maintained.
“We are using all the tools we have at our disposal -- which includes asking for help from our law enforcement partners, like the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office -- to ensure everyone is following public health guidelines and the Emergency Order closing the beach and parks,” Lord said. “FireFlight is now going up at least twice a day to check on things.”
An Emergency Order was signed Sunday to close the beach and parks facilities. Under the order, there is no delineation between public and private beaches per Florida Statute Section 252.46(2).
“For the most part, it appears people are adhering to the Emergency Order to close the beaches and parks,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “For those that are not following the orders, we are patrolling the beaches on an ATV and educating beachgoers of the Emergency Order and the need to practice social distancing during this time. If businesses are not complying with the various orders the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation along with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco are being notified.”
Stockpiling unnecessary as deliveries are arriving
Flagler County Emergency Management reminds residents that there is no need to stockpile groceries and paper goods.
“Unlike the situation with a hurricane, the flow of supplies is not being disrupted,” said Lord. “Please only buy what your family needs for a week, because there are a lot of families that are unable to buy food and supplies for weeks in advance.”
Flagler County on Wednesday asked its residents -- especially those who are over 65 years old or who have a pre-existing medical condition -- to stay home for 14 days to the degree possible.
“We ask that you only go to the store once a week, and get only the things you really need,” Lord said. “We don’t need people making extra trips, because they can’t find what they are looking for.”
The city of Palm Coast closed all city facilities to the public beginning Monday, March 23, until further notice, and asked residents to stay home if at all possible, effectively immediately.
Mayor Milissa Holland signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Emergency Proclamation late Sunday night, March 22.
The proactive measure is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Palm Coast. The measure does allow for residents to leave their homes for essential services, such as grocery shopping, gas and medicine. It also allows for residents to travel to essential work that cannot be done remotely.
“I am asking that you recognize and adhere to this voluntary order to shelter in place – that is, stay at home – except for certain essential activities,” Holland said. “This is a significant moment for the City of Palm Coast. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to take the necessary actions to slow the transmission of this virus by staying home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave your home. I realize this is an unprecedented request for action, but we are facing an extraordinary crisis. We have an opportunity to take actions that have a known effect to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus and reduce infections. Furthermore, it is vitally important we take these steps to do what we can to prevent a strain on our healthcare system. As a community we can make decisions today that will have an impact on the severity and longevity of COVID-19 in the City of Palm Coast.”
Social distancing, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as space of six feet or more between individuals, has been identified as the main component in combating the spread of COVID-19.
“This is an unprecedented global event,” said City Manager Matthew Morton. "Since early February, the City of Palm Coast has been mobilizing all of its tools, resources and knowledge toward fighting the coronavirus. This is a call to action for our residents, by embracing the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” practices outlined in this proclamation, we can continue to demonstrate our community’s compassion and resiliency. While your City continues to work hard on your behalf, we need your help to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”
“When this is over, it is imperative that we look back and do not question whether we did enough,” Mayor Holland said. “The quicker that we accept our reality and act upon it, the quicker we can return to normalcy.”
The facilities that are closed to the public include:
- City Hall
- Utility Department
- All Parks & Rec Facilities
These closures are only to the public. City staff will continue to serve and protect the community. Every city service can be accessed at the Virtual City Hall on palmcoastconnect.com or by calling Customer Service at 386-986-2360.
The city is also closing down all playgrounds, park pavilions, and restrooms to the public starting Friday, March 20, until further notice.
Based on the Flagler County’s decision to close all beaches, the City of Palm Coast is closing all parks and trails in conjunction with this order to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Parks and Recreation is offering virtual recreation programs for opportunities to recreate at your own home. Visit Palm Coast Connect at palmcoastconnect.com/s/parks-and-recreation to see the latest updates and content from Parks and Recreation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend limiting public gatherings of 10 or more people. This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.
All city-run activities at city facilities will remain canceled until further notice. The Palm Coast Community Center, Palm Coast Tennis Center, Palm Harbor Golf Club, and Palm Coast Aquatics Center will also remain closed to the public through this time. At this present time, park open spaces and trails will remain open for normal operations.
Recommendations are rapidly changing. The city of Palm Coast will continue to closely monitor and follow recommendations from the CDC, as well as the Flagler County Emergency Management Office, Flagler County Health Department, and Florida Department of Health.
Palm Coast Connect continues to be the hub for City response to COVID-19. Visit palmcoastconnect.com for updated information and register to receive notifications on any city updates.
The Florida Department of Health COVID-19 hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 866-779-6121 or questions may be emailed to COVIDemail@example.com.
City of Palm Coast creates Business Resource Center
Resources for businesses have become available through local, state and federal organizations. The City of Palm Coast has created a Business Resource Center on Palm Coast Connect, the City’s information hub during the COVID-19 response. This will provide a variety of resources and helpful links to businesses affected by COVID-19. It can be accessed at www.palmcoastconnect.com/s/business-resource-center.
Additionally, the Business Resource Center will also host a clickable link under local resources to a list that will be dedicated to updating the community on which local businesses are open. In the spirit of helping others, this list is designed to offer businesses another outlet to reach the community during this difficult time and make it easier on the consumer as well.
“Under these financial circumstances, it is so important that we support our local businesses,” the mayor said. “The City of Palm Coast is especially dedicated to fostering and supporting those who chose our city as their home. The Business Resource Center on Palm Coast Connect will continue to grow and serve as the hub for an expansive list of resources vital to these companies.”
Here’s how it will work: If you are a business owner or manager for a business in Palm Coast or Flagler County, you can let us know if you are open and other important details through Palm Coast Connect. To get started, create a free account. Once that’s completed and you’re signed in, you will report a concern. Fill out all fields. For request type, choose ‘Coronavirus COVID-19,’ and for request sub type, choose “Local Business Updates.” Then, when writing a description, please provide the following:
- Business name
- Business Address (unless you are mobile and then include a method of contact for the public)
- Hours of operation
- Any special details: For example, if a restaurant is open but only offering takeout or delivery, please specify that.
- Website link for the business
The information will then be compiled and posted inside the link in the Business Resource Center. The link will be shared to the City’s Facebook page and other social media channels.
Many residents in the City of Palm Coast and throughout Flagler County are also business owners. This is meant to be an extra avenue of outreach for those local businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. While it is not automatic, it will be updated regularly.
To register for a free account on Palm Coast Connect, visit www.palmcoastconnect.com on your desktop or using your mobile device, download the free app available in both the App Store and Google Play Store. Once on the homepage, scroll down toward the bottom of the page where there will be a text box to register for an account. By registering, you can track the progress of your question or concern.
The City has taken numerous steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 through recommendations set forth by local, state and federal officials. You can read more about that on www.palmcoastconnect.com and click on the tile labeled “Press Releases.”
As you support local businesses, please remember to follow local and state emergency orders as well as the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing.
Until further notice, the Bunnell Administration Complex will be closed to the general public with few exceptions and then only by appointment. City staff will be available during normal business hours -- Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- by phone, fax and e-mail to answer questions citizens and stakeholders need answered.
Any utility bill payments can be done by mail, phone, on-line or by placing them in the drop box located at outside of the Administration Complex.
To schedule appointments with the appropriate office/staff please use the numbers below:
- Utility Billing and Account: 437-7500 x 3
- City Clerk, Business Tax Receipts and Parks and Recreation: 437-7500 x 5
- Human Resources: 437-7500 x 7
- Finance and Accounts Payable: 437-7500 x 8
- Solid Waste: 437-7411
- Community Development: 437-7516
- Infrastructure/Public Works: 437-7515
- Police Department: 437-7508
Until further notice, the City of Bunnell is also taking additional steps to comply with COVID-19 recommendations:
- All facility rentals are canceled.
- No applications/requests for facility rentals will be accepted until normal City operations resume.
- All city-owned parks are closed (as of 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 23).
- All park restrooms are closed.
- No applications for special event permits will be processed until normal City operations resume.
All residents and businesses are urged to follow Florida Department of Health and CDC guidance, to include:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Citizens are urged to stay informed and refer to the Flagler County website for the most current information being released by the Health Department, CDC and all local jurisdictions.
All COVID-19 related questions should be directed to the hotline, 866-779-6121.
Alachua County, including the City of Gainesville, is monitoring the coronavirus.
As of March 23, there were 37 positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alachua County. Ten University of Florida students are among the COVID-19 patients, according to the city of Gainesville.
Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and Alachua County Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson came together for a joint announcement at 3 p.m. Monday of the latest emergency declaration for the area, which will go into effect at 12 a.m. and is essentially a stay-at-home order.
As part of the declaration:
- All non-essential business and operations must cease
- All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited with few exceptions
- All places of public assembly are closed to the public
- People shall remain in their homes except for leaving the home for essential activities.
- All essential businesses and operations are encouraged to remain open
- Non-essential retail and commercial business closed
The order will remain in effect until the state of emergency is lifted in the county.
On March 16, Hutchinson declared a local state of emergency in Alachua County, giving the county government a greater ability to react as needed to the events surrounding COVID-19.
The same day, Poe signed a declaration of emergency for Gainesville. The local state of emergency limits the number of persons in any assembly to 50 or less whether that be for worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation or similar uses. Any business entity or establishment that fails to comply will be granted one warning and an opportunity to reduce the number of persons to comply with the order or they will be subject to closure. The local state of emergency has been declared for the next seven days and can be extended as needed. The declaration will help reduce the vulnerability of our neighbors to COVID-19 and unlock federal funds to help the city as it works to fight the spread of COVID-19.
All city of Gainesville board meetings are canceled through March 30.
Effective 5 p.m. March 18, Gainesville City Hall and other city facilities closed to the public until further notice. Exceptions include the Gainesville Police Department lobby, Gainesville Regional Utilities’ main lobby and certain parks and public restrooms. There will be no interruption of critical services, such as fire and rescue and police response.
Some other changes to city services and operations include:
- RTS will begin modified reduced service beginning Monday, March 16. Visit www.go-rts.com for more information.
- No new city events will be scheduled at this time.
- All tours of city facilities are suspended for the next 30 days.
- Interior visits of occupied spaces for inspections and other observation duties performed by units including code enforcement and housing have been suspended indefinitely, until otherwise advised. This suspension does not apply to our public safety workers who are tasked with delivering critical life-saving services.
- Effective March 18, the city will begin closing several of its parks, playgrounds, gymnasiums, pools and recreation facilities until further notice. In addition, all previously scheduled programs, events and recreation activities in city facilities have been temporarily suspended.
3-1-1 Critical Information has been activated. Call to get contact information for multiple agencies and information sources.
For more information regarding COVID-19 information, visit the City of Gainesville’s website, the City of Gainesville Facebook page and the City of Gainesville Twitter feed. You may also call the Coronavirus Information Line at 866-779-6121, visit the Florida Department of Health website and the CDC website. Information may also be found on Alachua County’s website.
The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County said it is imperative for anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to contact the Alachua County Health Department at 352-225-4181 during regular business hours or at 352-334-7900 after hours, before traveling to any physician’s office, emergency department, hospital or urgent care center. The Department of Health said this is to ensure proper protective measures are taken to prevent further risk of spread to others.