On Friday, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis held a roundtable with Panama City firefighters, local officials and first responders to discuss the importance of preparing for the coronavirus.
“Globally, the coronavirus has infected over 76,000 people and as of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 15 positive cases of the virus in the United States. Florida’s first responders best understand the needs of their communities and it’s important we listen to them and hear their needs as we see the coronavirus spread to other parts of the globe—including the United States,” Patronis said.
“Fortunately, there are no confirmed cases in Florida—and we hope it stays that way. But with the large number of people traveling through Florida airports, and seaports, it’s important to be prepared,” he added
The International Association of Fire Fighters began issuing guidance on how first responders can protect themselves from the deadly disease. Specifically, the Association provided important guidance on: coordinating with municipalities; preparation – by reviewing your department’s exposure control plans; guidance on how to deal with potential exposure; and protection and decontamination strategies.
Patronis also encouraged first responders to review their equipment needs and encouraged first responders to coordinate with local county health departments.
“When it comes to protecting our brave men and women from infectious diseases, face shields and goggles are critical. As a result of the coronavirus, suppliers of medical equipment have noticed both an increase in demand and a disruption of their supply-chains. That’s why it is so important first responders review their equipment needs,” Patronis said.
“As health care officials interface with the World Health Organization, they’ll have the latest information on the spread of the coronavirus and provide additional details on any strategies that are being deployed on managing its spread. As you know, our heroes do a lot more than fight fires, and we need to make sure they’re taking proper precautions in case we start seeing this disease make its way to Florida,” he added.