CORAL SPRINGS, FL - As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department has been working with the other City Departments to ensure that we are providing the highest level of response to keep our residents safe. One of our primary goals has been to prevent the spread of this deadly virus to our vulnerable populations.
From the very start, we understood our vulnerable population is most at-risk, so we established a team, which focused on assisted living facilities (ALFs), nursing homes and senior communities. This team worked with Development Services, logistics, and the City Attorney’s Office to develop comprehensive plans to protect this segment of our community. These safety measures began on March 6, 2020, when we contacted facilities to assess their needs and to discuss the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The City of Coral Springs issued Emergency Order 2020-01, on March 17, adopting Florida Department of Emergency Management Emergency Order 20-002. Our order required each ALF and nursing home to submit an affidavit confirming their compliance with these orders on a weekly basis. We then initiated weekly conference calls with department staff and our Medical Director, Dr. Peter Antevy, to educate and inform ALF and nursing homes management about the virus.
During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) was difficult to obtain for many facilities that cared for the elderly and infirmed. Our team worked with these facilities to help submit requests on the State of Florida level for crucial PPE. When crucial PPE orders were delayed, we provided necessary equipment and assisted with COVID-19 related cases they were experiencing.
We continue to offer a free webinar to our ALFs and nursing homes and continually look for ways to ensure the health and welfare of our residents. Recently, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) issued two emergency orders: 59AER20-4 pertaining to ALFs, and 59AER20-5 pertaining to nursing homes. These orders require the testing of all ALF and nursing home staff effective July 7, and every two weeks following. The City of Coral Springs amended Emergency Order 2020-01 requiring ALFs and nursing homes to submit documentation effective July 21, and every two weeks following, confirming they are in compliance with all AHCA orders.
As the number of positive cases of COVID-19, increases, the members of the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department remain committed to our mission: “To assist the public in the protection of life and property by minimizing the impact of fires, medical emergencies and other potential disasters or events that affect the community and environment.” As a city, we adopted a common message for all staff: “One Team - One Mission.” That is evident in everything we are committed to doing to protect our community.
On behalf of the men and women of the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department, we ask that you continue to be vigilant and adhere to all recommended CDC guidelines and enacted Emergency Orders. Stay safe.
Michael McNally is chief of Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department.
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