MANATEE COUNTY, FL (March 31, 2020) – Manatee County Public Safety officials today stepped up efforts to keep first responders safe during the COVID-19 response in coming weeks with a direct appeal to both business owners and Manatee County residents.
Preventing unnecessary quarantine
The first request asks all 9-1-1 callers to answer health screening calls appropriately. Failure to answer COVID-19 questions honestly puts first responders at risk of being exposed to the virus. When a 9-1-1 caller answers questions describing symptoms of COVID-19, their truthful responses alert first responders to don personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to the patient.
“Manatee County’s first responders could face a shortage of healthcare workers as more and more first responders are exposed to the COVID-19 virus while performing their daily duties,” says Public Safety Director Jacob Saur. “Currently a number of first responders are quarantined after possibly being exposed to COVID-19 while performing their duties. None of the responders have tested positive to date, but some of these quarantines could have been prevented had the 9-1-1 caller answered the questions to the best of their ability.”
When callers dial 9-1-1 for assistance, telecommunicators ask additional questions to assess the caller’s possible exposure to COVID-19. Based on those responses, the call taker can dispatch the a paramedic crew that’s prepared and equipped to help the caller. The additional questions do not delaying assistance to the caller and the questions help keep first responders safe.
If sick patients are able, they should walk outside to meet the first responders in an effort to reduce exposure in close situations.
A call for Personal Protection Equipment
Public Safety’s second request asks for the public to donate medical grade Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) which first responders and Department of Health officials will need in April to assist an expected increase in COVID-19 patients. Public Safety’s new video with the Department of Health illustrates the kinds of PPE first responders are looking for. If anyone has PPE to contribute, they’re asked to call (941) 744-3939. A full list of PPE items can be found at the end of this press release.
Closures and other updates
- Sunny Shores Park will be closed temporarily at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
- Rye Preserve west of Rye Bridge along Upper Manatee River Road will closed to the public today. Rye Preserves other public entrances will remain open.
- The Lena Road Landfill, normally open on Saturdays, temporarily will be closed on Saturdays beginning April 11. It will remain open weekdays.
- Manatee County Animal Services distributed free pet food, kitty litter and pet treats to nearly 400 pet owners today at Manatee County Cat Town, 216 6th Ave E, Bradenton. The freebies, donated by Florida State Animal Response Coalition, Chewy.com and the Greater Good, will be given out again tomorrow from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. while supplies last. Only a limited amount of cat food is still available.
- The County’s tennis and pickle ball courts closed temporarily today as recommended by the Governor in Executive Order 20-83, and the Florida Department of Health Office of the Surgeon General. Manatee County posted Closed signs on the skateparks at G.T. Bray and Blackstone parks yesterday.
- Manatee County strongly encourages those with medical conditions and those over the age of 65 take extra precautions to prevent infection of COVID-19 by staying at home and limiting social gatherings to 10 people or less. Manatee County residents should work remotely as recommended by Governor DeSantis’s Executive Order 20-83 and follow the CDC and DOH guidelines for frequent hand washing.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) items needed
- Surgical Face Masks
- P100 Masks
- N95 Masks
- Face Shields
- Nitrile Exam Gloves, Powder Free
- 5 and 7 mil Nitrile Gloves
- Eye protection – Safety Glasses
- Surgical Tear Away Gowns
- Safety Eye Goggles
- Hand Sanitizer (any size) 60% Alcohol
- 91% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Clorox Wipes
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray
- Sani-Cloth Wipes
- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
Medical Devices needed
- Ventilators – Hospital, Transport, Home Use
- CPAP – Hospital, Disposable, Home Sleep Apnea
- BiPAP/BiLevel – Hospital, Disposable, Home Sleep Apnea
- High Flow Nasal Cannula Set-ups
View the latest on Manatee County’s community-wide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by visiting www.mymanatee.org/COVID-19 or text ManateeReady to 888-777. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter @ManateeGov.