A new shelter-in-place order is “urging” Broward County residents to stay indoors to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That order will take effect just after midnight Thursday evening.
“Individuals are strongly urged to remain home other than to engage in essential activities,” the emergency order reads.
That recommendation does not apply to individuals engaging in the “minimum activities necessary” to conduct minimum business operations, or to individuals visiting essential businesses. Outdoor exercise is also permitted.
A full list of “essential businesses” is included in the order, and includes things such as hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, assisted living facilities and more.
The order also mandates that “hotels, motels, other commercial lodging establishments and temporary vacation rentals…shall not accept new reservations for occupancy periods that would commence prior to May 8, 2020.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ state of emergency expires on May 8.
Earlier Thursday, the first doctor inside the county died after contracting the novel coronavirus. The 67-year-old Dr. Alex Hsu worked at Northwest Medical Center in Margate.
South Florida is the hardest hit region in the state when it comes to the COVID-19 virus.
Through Thursday morning, there were 504 confirmed cases in Broward County. That makes up more than 21% of all cases in the state.
The death rate in the U.S. has hovered slightly above 1%. But experts worry that if hospitals are overwhelmed with cases, that could inhibit doctors’ ability to treat patients and send that death rate even higher.
Without a vaccine or reliable way to treat those symptoms, health officials have urged Americans to cut down on social interactions until the virus’s spread is under control. Widespread testing could allow a more targeted quarantine approach. But supplies are still limited, forcing officials to take broader measures.
Both Broward and Miami Dade counties have seen varying levels of restrictions put in place, at both the county and city level. Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie has also said he expects K-12 schools to operate remotely for the remainder of the school year, though no final decision has yet been made.