As you know, this blog serves as a vehicle for communications on all crises and other topics that may be of concern to our community. Today, there are two situations that we’re monitoring, and that are important for us to stay aware of. The first is a storm system with a chance of developing into something of concern for us in South Florida; and the second is the Zika virus.
A tropical disturbance churning in the Caribbean could pose a threat to Florida. The National Hurricane Center says the system has a medium to high chance of development into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next two to five days. Today, forecasters reduced the percent chance that it would develop over the next five days to 70 percent- down from yesterday’s 80 percent. The Miami Herald reports that Florida is likely to feel some effects from the storm, though it is still too early to tell what those might be.
As always, we’ll watch this storm and keep you up to date on the very latest news. We will make a decision in the coming days as to whether we’ll need to activate our incident command center, but now is a good time to make sure you know what your plan for a storm would be – both at work and at home. If you’re unsure about your department’s protocol, please speak with your manager. Personally, please review your plan for yourself and your family – where will you go if a storm hits? Do you have necessary supplies? What preparations will you make? The National Hurricane Center’s hurricane preparedness website is a great place to go to help you start to answer some of those important questions.
The number of non-travel-related cases of the Zika virus continues to grow in our state. This week, state health officials announced the first non-travel-related case of the virus outside of South Florida. The new case was found in Pinellas County, which includes St. Petersburg, near Tampa. The health department is investigating this case, as well as several others, but officials still believe ongoing active transmission is taking place only within the identified areas of Wynwood and Miami Beach. The latest numbers, out today, show 534 travel-related cases of Zika in the state, 43 non-travel-related cases and 70 cases involving pregnant women.
At this time, we continue to be on a level 3 activation, which means we are closely monitoring the situation and responding accordingly. We’re in constant communication with our local health department, physician leaders, infection control staff and other experts to ensure that we have the latest information and appropriate response and resources for our patients.
Dr. Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, has told us that the most important message to get out to the community continues to be that of prevention. Each person doing his or her part to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate standing water can go a long way in stopping the spread of the virus. Here are more prevention tips from the CDC.