Florida emergency workers test positive for COVID-19


Four employees of the Florida Division of Emergency Management tested positive Thursday for COVID-19, bringing to 12 the number of division workers with the virus since twice-a-week testing began three weeks ago.

All were asymptomatic and are working from their homes, as are immediate co-workers pending further testing, according to the division, which has been operating at a heightened activation level since February because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The employees are believed to have contracted the virus outside of the Tallahassee emergency-management office, as they don’t work in the same areas, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said.

“The EOC (Emergency Operations Center) is open, we’re operating,” Moskowitz said. The division’s executive team continues to work out of the building, he said.

Even before the recent positive tests, Moskowitz said the office has undergone nightly sanitary spraying, and a requirement was in place for people to wear face masks when inside the building. Protocols have also been set up that will limit occupancy at the Emergency Operations Center if a hurricane threatens the state.

“Usually, we have 600 people running around the floors here. That clearly won’t be happening,” Moskowitz said. “We’re going to be spread out.”

Emergency workers now focused on the pandemic would shift to facilities across the street in the state’s Betty Easley Conference Center if the office is activated for a hurricane.

Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.