by James Thompson
In response to the COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” pandemic, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners has issued Emergency Order 2020-09 to “Stay at Home and Close all Non-Essential Businesses.” The orders include the towns and cities of Gainesville, Monteocha/LaCrosse, Hawthorne, Alachua, Archer, Waldo, Micanopy, High Springs, and Newberry, as well as the rural and unincorporated parts of the County. Grocery stores, gas stations, banks, auto and bicycle repair, hardware, medical facilities, and other essential services remain open, but with proximity protocols in place.
Coronavirus is deadly. Coronavirus transmits easily. CORONAVIRUS IS NOT THE FLU. This virus gestates in the body for a long time, so we will not see its full effects for weeks or months. It is more deadly and more likely to lead to hospitalization than the flu. As of March 27, the predicted date for Alachua County’s hospital beds to be at capacity is April 10. At this point, doctors may have to decide who gets treatment and who does not. We can prevent that by staying apart, together.
1. Stay away from other humans completely, except for your children and immediate household. If you do encounter people in public, keep at least six feet between you. It’s okay to go outside, but not to closed parks or facilities.
2. Wash your hands for 20 seconds very often, especially before and after going out in public for essential services like groceries. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you sneeze or cough.
3. If you have breathing issues, coughing, a fever, or other symptoms of illness, seek medical attention over the phone or a computer first, if possible. Visiting a hospital or doctor’s office in a non-emergency situation can spread the disease.
4. Use social media, phones, and tablets to stay in touch with friends, family, seniors, and anyone struggling with mental health or addiction.
The best general site to find community resources and updates about the virus are at Alachua County’s government site at https://alachuacounty.us/Depts/EM/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.
If you are experiencing hardship at this time, you can apply for unemployment at https://www.stateofflorida.com/articles/florida-unemployment/.
Good government is important during these times, but local and personal mutual aid are the best first response to any crisis. A Facebook page for mutual aid has been developed by grassroots organizers. Type “Gainesville COVID-19 Mutual Aid” into your search, browser, or Facebook search line.
At this time it appears Alachua County is responding to the crisis more seriously than Florida’s governor or the president. If there is any confusion about what to do or who to follow, consider the source.