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Hernando County Plans to Reopen for Business

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on April 29, 2020

On April 29, 2020, at 10 am, the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce held a virtual town hall meeting to go over Hernando County’s plan to implement a return to work.

The Panel included

  • Hernando County Administrator, Jeff Rogers
  • Chairman of the Hernando County BOCC, John Mitten
  • Director of Emergency Management, Cecilia Patella
  • Director of the Hernando County Health Department, Robin Napier
  • Hernando County Sheriff, Al Nienhuis
  • Hernando County School Superintendent, John Stratton
  • Moderated by Chamber Board Chair, Dr. Donna Burdzinski

Jeff Rogers began by stating that the Board of County Commissioners voted to open parks this morning, including Pine Island Beach, and that other public services that have been closed are being reopened.

“Libraries must open more slowly,” Mr. Rogers stated, “We have staff there but they are still making arrangements while creating safe environments for public. Plans are to have the libraries opening next week.”

County business departments reopened today, and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to follow Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’  Taskforce guidelines on reopening businesses and implementing return to work for employees. That press conference can be seen here.

BOCC Chair, John Mitten, “We are waiting on Governor DeSantis for guidance. We don’t want to have anything in the way of the Governor’s orders obviously with the safety concerns. We expect the Governor to give good guidance and want to open up Hernando County as quickly as possible, with safety concerns weighing in on decisions.”

“The BOCC directed Hernando County government to follow lead of Governor DeSantis’ task force recommendations. Pasco and Citrus Counties are following the same levels we are,” said County Administrator, Jeff Rogers. “Southern Counties may have different needs than we do locally.”

Hernando County Plans to Reopen for Business following Florida Guidelines

John Stratton, Hernando County Schools Superintendent stated, “We realize that Hernando County needs to get opened. Our School Board is following the State’s recommendation to be closed for rest of this school year, with students finishing their academic year on the digital platform. We are looking at the options for Summer, and planning for August. We hope to return to a normal, traditional educational system for the Fall, but it could likely be a combination of traditional and digital options, especially with social distancing protocols.”

It is anticipated that our return to “normalcy” will include continued personal protection equipment (PPEs) such as masks, diligent hand washing and social distancing for the foreseeable future. If citizens continue to utilize best practices learned in this time, it will ease the transition to an active, open County was the consensus of the Panel.

“I want to commend the citizens of Hernando County for following guidelines to help ensure we did not have a worse COVID-19 effect on our population. By utilizing PPEs and social distancing we have managed to keep our hospitals from being overrun with cases,” said Commission Chair John Mitten.

Planning for Hurricane Season with COVID-19

With hurricane season coming up, Cecilia Patella, Hernando County Director of Emergency Management, mentioned that planning for social distancing, emergency preparations for COVID with hurricane shelters, transportation, and special needs individuals are in the works. Developing processes to plan for the responsibilities and communications for residents in emergency or sheltering situations is a priority.

Robin Napier, Director of Hernando County Health Department, explained that Hernando County is following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines currently in regards to testing for COVID-19. CDC guidelines require testing only for those who are symptomatic for the virus. Until the CDC directs it, no change in testing is planned.

There are no plans for any permanent restrictions regarding COVID-19 according to this panel. Hernando County residents have been personally responsible with social distancing, wearing masks and staying home while sick.

Each of the offices represented expressed a desire to follow the State guidelines and a phased-in return to normal.

Showing the Class of 2020 some extra Love

On a final note, May 15 is Hernando County School District Senior’s last day. John Stratton requested that local businesses and residents do something to recognize Senior students on that day! That will be a drive-by day where Seniors can drive by their schools and be recognized by their teachers, principals, and support staff. With the class of 2020 having their senior year turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the schools would like to have the community come out and show them appreciation for their hard work in achieving their diplomas.

Comments

Small businesses says

I believe we are harming livleyhoods of our county with this order. We have had 8 deaths! And less than 200 cases! This statistic is so low its rediculous. I know with me i have a plan that works for social distancing. Not a socalist gov. If people have underlying issues they should stay home or in home love ones with conditions. Otherwise you are killing more small businesses and lives by holding back tyring to go forward. You are litterally sufficating the small business to death by fear and unjustified results to keep businesses closed.

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Mac305 says

Without antibody testing, it is impossible to get an accurate count. The purpose of government is to serve the people. To label it socialist when it does is pure propaganda.

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Dennis Purdy says

The chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Dr. Lindsay Weaver, told physicians this week that today’s best RT-PCR test (for the presence of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19) has a sensitivity of 70 percent among patients ill enough to need hospitalization. Among people who have mild or no symptoms, it is perhaps only 30 percent sensitive.” In other words, “the best laboratory test we have for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus misses 70 percent of all infected people tested when used for anyone other than the most ill.”
Yet, the governors and the white house insists that “testing is the key.” But the tests conducted on the general population will only be accurate 30% of the time. A coin toss is accurate 50% of the time and doesn’t cost anything. So everyone toss a coin. If it is heads, you’re positive, tails, you’re negative. Now send your results to John Hopkins. They would be more accurate than the COVID19 testing.

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Mac305 says

There is no question that testing started out shakey, where it has started at all. I have seen no mass testing offered to the public in Hernando. There are so many conflicting, even contradictory statements coming from DC that we better be sure it is safe to reopen. Not just politically advantagious to somebody.

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Suek says

Are the playgrounds in the Parks safe?

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