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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Public Information Line

Resource for children 

The Germ Who Wears the Crown: A Story About the Coronavirus

This is a story, coloring and activity book from the FSU Center for Child Stress & Health to help children cope with COVID-19.


drive-thru testing schedule
  • How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Florida?
  • Governor Executive Orders
  • Okaloosa County Coronavirus Summary Reports
  • Are the beaches open?
  • What are the signs/symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Where can I get tested?
  • Antibody Testing for COVID-19
  • What is social distancing?
  • COVID-19 Testing Before Return to Work
  • Using cleaners and disinfectants safely
  • Considering traveling? Including in U.S., out of country, or a cruise?
  • Returning to U.S. from out of country or visiting a highly impacted state?
  • Traveling to Okaloosa County
  • How does the virus spread?
  • What can I do to prevent COVID-19?
  • Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients
  • Contact tracing
  • Do I need to wear a facemask?
  • If I were exposed to COVID-19, how long would it take for me to become sick?
  • What are the treatments?
  • American Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center

Updated 05/29/2020 10 a.m.
There are 54,497 positive cases for Florida residents. 
There have been 2,413 deaths in Florida.

Okaloosa County has had 207 reported positive cases and 6 deaths.

Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 data by visiting the dashboard here.

Executive Order 20-131

  • Organized youth activities may operate, including youth sports teams and leagues, youth clubs and programs, and child care. Summer camps and youth recreation camps may operate including, but not limited to, those defined 409.175 and 513.02, Florida Statutes, respectively.

Executive Order 20-123

  • Restaurants and food establishments can increase indoor seating capacity up to 50%.
  • Retail may operate up to 50% capacity indoors.
  • Gyms and fitness centers may operate up to 50% capacity.
  • Museums and libraries may operate up to 50% capacity as permitted by local governments.
  • Amusement parks may submit reopening plan to the state.
  • Vacation rentals- counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals by submitting a written request and county vacation rental safety plan to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Professional sports venues may open and operate for games, events, and training.

Executive Order 20-120

  • Executive Order 20-112 restriction no longer applies to Palm Beach County
  • Effective May 11, reopening of barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures.
    • Includes Barber; Restricted Barber; Cosmetologist; Nail Specialist; Facial Specialist; Full Specialist; Hair Braider; Hair Wrapper; and Body Wrapper.
    • Broward and Miami Dade excluded from this order.
    • Barbershops and salons must manage capacity of the premises based on an appointment-only schedule and must allow at least 15 minutes between the conclusion of an appointment and the beginning of the next appointment for proper disinfecting practices. Barbershops and salons should take necessary action to limit gatherings in waiting areas prior to and following appointments to the extent necessary to promote appropriate social distancing. Barbershops and salons are encouraged to adopt means of limiting patrons waiting for appointments, such as calling patrons from a waiting vehicle or outdoor waiting area once an available service station is cleaned, prepared, and ready for service of the next patron.
    • Barbershops and salons should remove all unnecessary, frequent-touch items, such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, and any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas. These businesses should take necessary action to limit gatherings of patrons in waiting areas to the extent necessary to promote appropriate social distancing.
    • The order prohibits group appointments. Where multiple individuals are seeking joint or co-scheduled appointments to obtain services as a party at the same appointment time, barbershops and salons should restrict the number of individual appointments to the number of available service stations that can be responsibly accommodated while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
    • A mask must be worn by an employee while providing personal services in the barbershop or salon.
    • Barbershops and salons should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to reopening, and disinfection practices should be repeated, at minimum, between each day of operation. All surfaces, tools, and linens should be disinfected, even if the items were cleaned before the barbershop or salon was closed.

Executive Order 20-112

  • Governor DeSantis presented Florida’s phase 1 plan to reopen Florida starting May 4
    • This plan includes a 5-Step Approach
      1. 1. Protect the Vulnerable
      2. Increase Testing
      3. Promote Social Distancing
      4. Support Hospitals and Protect Health Care Workers
      5. Prevent introduction from Outside the State
    • This order applies to all counties except Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach
  • The order includes.
    • Responsible Individual Activity
      1. All persons in FL shall continue to limit their personal interactions outside the home
      2. As of May 4, persons in Florida may provide or obtain
        a. All services and activities currently allowed (as described in EO 20-91, called essential services, as well as other services and activities approved by the State Coordinating Officer. Such service should continue to follow safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
    • Senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • All person in FL should:
    • Avoid congregating in large groups. Local authorities shall ensure that groups of more than 10 people are not permitted to congregate in any public space that doesn’t allow for appropriate social distancing.
    • Avoid nonessential travel including to US states and cities outside of FL with a significant presence of COVID-19.
    • Adhere to guidelines from CDC following travel on a cruise or international travel or any destination with significant presence of COVID-19
  • Business Restrictions
    • Bars, pubs, and nightclubs shall remain closed for on-premises consumption.
    • Restaurants will be allowed to re-open, with outdoor seating as long as social distancing is practice. Indoor seating will be allowed at 25 percent of building capacity and seating of parties of 10 or fewer people. Restaurant bars are closed to seating.
    • Gyms and fitness centers shall remain closed.
    • Movie theaters remain closed
    • Personal care services (such as barber shops, salons, spas) remain closed. They may sell produces through pick-up services.
    • Ongoing prohibition on vacation rentals as outlined in EO 20-87 remains in effect.
    • On-site sale and retail businesses will be allowed to operate at 25 percent occupancy.
    • If your business is open, it may remain open and should continue appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures. Also, any activity or work that has been available under the previous order remains available. Businesses should adopt appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures.
  • Medical services, including elective procedures, surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental offices, orthodontic offices, endodontic office and other health care practitioners' offices may fully re-open. As a condition of resuming elective procedures, hospitals will be required to assist nursing homes and long-term care facilities in their efforts to protect the vulnerable.
  • State parks will reopen May 4. 

Executive Order 20-86

  • Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-86, directing all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the State of Louisiana, inclusive of those entering the State of Florida by roadways, to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. 

Executive Order 20-87 

  • Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-87, ordering all parties engaged in rental of vacation rental properties to suspend vacation rental operations. Vacation rentals are prohibited from making new reservations or bookings and shall not accept new guests for check-in for the duration of this order. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 20-009

  • Recreational vessel occupancy is limited to no more than 10 persons per vessel; and
  • A minimum distance of 50 feet between recreational vessels and any other vessel shall be maintained;
    • This distance provision does not apply to permitted mooring fields, public or private marinas, or any other permanently installed wet slips, and does not apply to vessels underway unless they are tied, rafted or moored to another vessel.

Executive  Order 20-80

  • Travel from outside of Florida in area with substantial community spread.
    • All persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. This Order shall not apply to persons employed by the airlines and those performing military, emergency or health response.
    • Any person who violates any isolation or quarantine directed by the Department of Health commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500.

Emergency Order 20-006 

Effective March 14 prohibiting visitation to certain facilities for 30 days. Prohibits individuals form visiting nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family care homes, long-term care facilities, and adult group homes, development disability centers, transitional living facilities, adult mental health treatment facilities, adult forensic facilities 

  • Every facility must prohibit the entry of any individual to the facility for 30 days EXCEPT in the following circumstances:
    • Family members, friends, and visiting residents in end-of-life situations;
    • Hospice or palliative care workers caring for residents in end-of-life situations;
    • Any individuals providing necessary health care to a resident;
    • Facility staff;
    • Facility residents;
    • Attorneys of Record for a resident in an Adult Mental Health and Treatment Facility for court related matters if virtual or telephonic means are unavailable; or
    • Representatives of the federal or state government seeking entry as part of their official duties, including, but not limited to, Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, representatives of the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons Disabilities, a protection and advocacy organization under 42 U.S.C. § 15041, the Office of the Attorney General, any law enforcement officer, and any emergency medical personnel.
  • Individuals identified in section 1 (those listed above) seeking entry to the facility will not be allowed to enter if:
    • Any person infected with COVID-19 who has not had two consecutive negative test results separated by 24 hours
    • Any person showing or presenting signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever, shortness of breath or sore throat
    • Any person who has or may have been in close contact with a person(s) infected with COVID-19 who has not tested negative for COVID-19 is prohibited from visiting a facility until 14 days after their interaction with the person(s) who is infected with COVID-19
    • Any person who traveled through any airport in past 14 days
    • Any person who traveled on a cruise ship in past 14 days
    • Any person who has been in a community with confirmed community spread of COVID-19, as identified by the CDC or a state public health agency within 14 days of their presence in the community with community spread
    • Any person who resides in a community with confirmed community spread of COVID-19, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a state public health agency

 

05.29.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
05.27.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
05.26.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.25.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 89 KB)
05.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB)
05.20.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB)
05.19.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 76 KB)
05.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
05.17.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB)
05.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 68 KB)
05.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 89 KB)
05.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
05.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
05.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 82 KB)
05.08.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 82 KB)
05.07.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
05.06.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 87 KB)
05.05.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
05.04.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 89 KB)
05.03.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
05.02.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 83 KB)
05.01.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
04.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 83 KB)
04.29.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 92 KB)
04.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 81 KB)
04.27.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB)
04.26.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81KB )
04.25.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
04.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
04.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92 KB)
04.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91 KB)
04.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB) 
04.20.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 80 KB)
04.19.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 81 KB)
04.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91 KB)
04.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91 KB)
04.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report(PDF 90 KB)

Beaches in Okaloosa County have reopened without time limitations effective May 5. 

Groups must be less than 10 and at least 6 ft between groups. 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
• Cough
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Fever
• Chills
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Headache
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness

If you are seriously ill, seek care at an area urgent care center or a hospital emergency department. 

COVID-19 testing is still available at DOH-Okaloosa for anyone wanting testing, symptoms or no symptoms. Please call 850-344-0566 for an appointment. Appointments are available Monday – Friday.

Community Drive-Thru Testing

Tuesday, June 2
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Northwest Florida State College
100 E College Blvd.
Niceville, FL 32578
 
Thursday, June 4
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center
1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
 
Tuesday, June 9
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Crestview Community Center
1446 Commerce Dr.
Crestview, FL 32539
 
Thursday, June 11
9 a.m. – noon.
Destin United Methodist Church
200 Beach Dr.
Destin, FL 32541

Other Providers in Okaloosa County Providing Testing (This list is not all inclusive to providers testing in Okaloosa County)

  • White Wilson Medical Center Fort Walton Beach- White Wilson Medical Center has a protocol for accessing medical evaluation for those who think they might need a COVID-19 test. WWMC requests you call 850-314-6300 for a medical screening and if you meet criteria for screening for COVID-19, they will instruct on next steps.
  • Drive-thru testing site Ascension Sacred Heart at 36500 Emerald Coast Parkway, on the Okaloosa-Walton County line, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. People must call 850-746-2684 for screening and an appointment. Testing is provided at no cost to patients. While the test center will bill insurers, there is no out-of-pocket cost for people with or without insurance.
  • At-home test kit- no up-front cost

New antibody tests are being approved by the FDA on an ongoing basis. As of 4/30, nine (9) Emergency Use Authorizations for antibody tests.

As of 4/30, the DOH-Okaloosa is not aware of any access to these FDA approved antibody tests in Okaloosa County.

The tests detect the presence of antibodies in the blood – if antibodies are present, that indicates that the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it.

There is still a great deal about COVID-19 immunity that we don’t yet fully understand. For example, we don’t yet know if the presence of antibodies provides any protection from re-infection nor do we know how long any immunity lasts.

QuestDirect allows individuals to order their own COVID-19 serology test.  

Oneblood is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies (FDA approved). 

Social distancing measures are taken to stop or slow the spread of infectious disease. This includes keeping at least 6 feet between you and other people, avoid shaking hands, avoid shopping or going out to restaurants to eat, take advantage or delivery or pickup options where available, and avoiding crowded places.

For more information about social distancing click here

If you are an older adult, information can be found here.

Negative COVID-19 testing is NOT indicated for return to work for all people who have a diagnosis of COVID-19. Individuals considered recovered from COVID-19 by the health department are based on the CDC non-test based criteria, as published at www.cdc.gov. The DOH-Okaloosa can provide the individual with a return to work letter, if requested.

Individuals infected with COVID-19 who work in healthcare, long-term care facility or any other communal living facility (corrections, jails, juvenile justice, group homes homeless shelter, etc) or works in a prescribed pediatric extended care center, are required to have negative results from an FDA Emergency Use Authorization molecular assay from at least two consecutive nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs collected at least 24 hours apart.

Poison Control Centers are seeing a spike in accidental poisonings during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically from hand sanitizers and household cleaning products.

Florida’s Poison Control Centers are available to help you 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.

Below are some helpful reminders to keep you and your family safe during this time:

Keeping Kids Safe

Florida’s Poison Control Centers are seeing a substantial increase in accidental exposures related to hand sanitizers and household cleaning products, including disinfectants and bleach. These are due primarily to these products being used regularly, and then left accessible to children rather than safely placing them out of their reach.

While careful use of these products can prevent infection, make sure you are keeping all chemicals up AND away; never on a counter, cabinet, or on an open shelf. The safest bet is to keep them up high, in a closed cabinet, with a lock for extra security.

Some cleaning products can cause chemical burns, so if accidental ingestion occurs, never induce vomiting. Florida’s Poison Control Centers remain available to you 24 hours a day during the pandemic to provide immediate treatment advice at 1-800-222-1222.

Mixing Cleaning Products

Another dangerous behavior is the mixing of cleaning products. We are disinfecting our homes more frequently and as products become scarce, some may resort to mixing products not aware that the combinations could be dangerous.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Never mix cleaning products or other chemicals.
  • Mixing these products and chemicals can create toxic gases. - Exposure to toxic gases like chlorine can lead to significant irritation of the skin and eyes, difficulty breathing, and even death.
  • Do not use professional grade cleaning products in your home.
  • Many cleaning products and chemicals can be irritating and have a strong odor, so open windows and doors to ventilate properly while cleaning.
  • If you feel sick while cleaning, stop immediately, head to fresh air and call Florida’s Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222. Call 911 if someone is having trouble breathing or is clearly in distress. When finished cleaning, store cleaning products and other chemicals up and away, out of reach of children.

All non-essential travel is discouraged at this time. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Don’t travel if you are sick or travel with someone who is sick.

CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions.

Essential Travel: These trips involve travel outside of your local area. Some travel may be essential, like:

  • Travel to provide medical or home care to others
  • Travel necessary for a job considered an essential service

If you must travel, check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.

Do no travel if you are sick or with someone who is sick.

Road Trips

Be aware that many businesses (such as restaurants and hotels) may be closed.

Anticipate your needs before you go:

  • Prepare food and water for the road. Pack non-perishables in case restaurants and stores are closed.
  • Bring any medicines you may need for the duration of your trip.
  • Pack a sufficient amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it in a place that is readily available.
  • Book accommodations in advance if you must stay somewhere overnight.
  • Plan to make as few stops as possible, but make sure you rest when you feel drowsy or sleepy.
  • Bring an EPA-registered disinfectant and other personal cleaning supplies.

If you must travel, consider the following risks you might face, depending on what type of travel you are planning:

  • Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there may be a risk of getting COVID-19 on crowded flights if there are other travelers on board with COVID-19.
  • Bus or train travel: Sitting or standing within 6 feet of others for a prolonged period of time can put you at risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
  • Car travel: The stops you need to make along the way could put you and others in the car with you in close contact with others who could be infected.
  • RV travel: Traveling by RV means you may have to stop less often for food or bathrooms, but RV travelers typically have to stop at RV parks overnight and other public places to get gas and supplies. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others who could be infected.

CDC has issued a Level 3 travel health advisory for a global pandemic (all countries)

States experiencing widespread community transmission:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island,Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

Persons returning from international travel, a cruise, or an impacted U.S. state:

  • Mandatory 14-day self-isolation.
  • If a person becomes sick (feverish/chilled or develops symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath) during this period, they should:
    • Call ahead to their healthcare provider, notify them of their recent travel and discuss how to enter the healthcare facility in a safe manner to obtain a medical evaluation.
Returning travelers should practice good infectious diseases hygiene and implement social distancing practices.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a social greeting.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between you and other people
  • Minimize interactions with co-workers or the public.
  • Avoid interaction with persons 65 or older, with chronic medical conditions, or in an immunocompromised state.
  • Avoid going out in public at peak hours of the day.
  • Take advantage of delivery or pick-up services from retailers.
  • Avoid travel by public conveyances (planes, trains, buses).
  • Work with employer to implement remote work options.
  • Avoid crowded places such as large indoor events such as church, community meetings, concerts, etc.
  • If a person becomes sick (feverish/chilled or develops symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath)) during this period, they should:
    • Not go to work/school and self-isolate at home until evaluated by a health care provider.
    • Notify their employer/school by phone or email.
    • Call ahead to their healthcare provider, notify them of their recent travel to a Level 2 country or a cruise, and discuss how to enter the healthcare facility in a safe manner to obtain medical evaluation.
  • Nonessential travel is still discouraged by the CDC.
  • Executive Order 20--86 remains in effect directing all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread –New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Louisiana, inclusive of those entering the State of Florida by roadways, to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.
    • Florida has two checkpoints in place- There is a checkpoint along Interstate 95, 13 miles south of the Georgia border in Nassau County. There is also a checkpoint on Interstate 10 near the Florida-Alabama border.
    • All drivers, except semi-trucks, are filtered off of the highway and into lanes at a weigh station where they are asked questions.
      • If you are coming from an area not considered a coronavirus hot spot you can continue on your way.
      • If you are coming from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Louisiana you are asked to pull up to a different set of tents. There you are asked more questions about where you are coming from and where you are going.
      • Drivers flagged as coming from one of these place are given paperwork to fill out with the address of where they are coming from and where they will be staying in Florida.
      • They must also sign to acknowledge that they are being asked to self-quarantine for two weeks when they first get into the state.
  • Beaches are open in Okaloosa County without time restrictions. Groups must be less than 10 and 6ft of space between groups.
  • Hotels, motels, and inns are available for rent. Short-term rentals such as Airbnb or VRBO remain prohibited.
  • Short-term rentals in Okaloosa County received approval to resume from the state on May 19. Details of the vacation rental safety plan can be found at the Okaloosa County website.
  • Restaurants are open to 50% capacity indoors as well as outside seating available. Bars, nightclubs, and pubs remain closed.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people
Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

There are various reports on how long the virus that causes COVID-19 can live on various surfaces but no definitive evidence that this is a major means of spreading the virus. It could be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

There is currently no evidence of COVID-19 spreading through mail. To learn more about the postal service is doing to address the situation people can call 1-800-275-8777.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Keep 6 ft of distance between yourself and other people
  • Limit gatherings to less than 10 people

In coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients.

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.

A contact investigation to any case of a reportable disease is confidential under Florida Statue.  

Persons who are identified as having a possible exposure to a case of COVID-19 and who have no symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath do not pose a risk to other individuals. CDC does not recommend testing, symptom monitoring or special management for people exposed to asymptomatic people with potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2 (such as in a household), i.e., “contacts of contacts;” these people are not considered exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

When public health professionals are notified of a case of COVID-19, we undertake a process called contact tracing. Contact tracing is the process of identification of persons who may have come into close contact with an infected person. A close contact is defined as:

  • Being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time, such as living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case or
  • Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g. being coughed or sneezed on)
Contact tracing is done for many diseases including tuberculosis, vaccine preventable diseases like measles and pertussis, sexually transmitted diseases and now COVID-19. Contacts of a case of COVID-19 are placed in self-isolation for 14 days from their last date of exposure. These individuals monitor themselves for symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath. Public Health personnel stay in touch with the contact throughout the entire isolation process. DOH-Okaloosa provides the individual with a 24/7 phone number to call if they think they are getting sick. If a contact gets sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, that person will be tested. If that person comes back positive for COVID-19, then contact tracing begins again. If the contact of a COVID-19 case completes the 14-day isolation period without illness, they are cleared to return to their daily activities.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

To learn more visit the CDC website.

The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is typically 2 to 14 days.
The FDA approved an Emergency Use Authorization to Gilead Science for the use of remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients on May 1, 2020.

The American Red Cross of North Florida is launching a Virtual Family Assistance Center to support families struggling with loss and grief due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. People can visit this website to access a support hub with special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need.  People without internet access can call 833-492-0094 for help.

Many families have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process due to restrictions related to COVID-19. To help, the Red Cross has set up a virtual team of specially trained mental health, spiritual care and health services volunteers who are:

  • Connecting with families over the phone to offer condolences, support and access to resources that may be available
  • Providing support for virtual memorial services for families, including connecting with local faith-based community partners
  • Hosting online classes to foster resilience and facilitate coping skills
  • Sharing information and referrals to state and local agencies as well as other community organizations including legal resources for estate, custody, immigration or other issue

All Family Assistance Center support will be provided virtually and is completely confidential and free.