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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Public Information Line

  • How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Florida?
  • Governor Executive Orders
  • Okaloosa County Coronavirus Summary Reports
  • Okaloosa County Weekly Key Metrics
  • Where can I get tested?
  • What are the signs/symptoms of COVID-19?
  • How long will it take for me to receive my test results from the health department?
  • What type of test is offered at DOH-Okaloosa or one of the community testing sites? Is rapid testing available?
  • Reporting a health care provider not following guidelines
  • COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies?
  • Flu and COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Scams
  • Hand Sanitizers Consumers Should Not Use
  • I already had COVID-19. Am I immune?
  • Return to Work/Community Activities After COVID-19 Infection in Adults
  • Antibody Testing for COVID-19
  • 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?
  • How does the virus spread?
  • What can I do to prevent COVID-19?
  • Plasma Donations from Recovered COVID-19 Patients
  • Contact tracing
  • Considerations for wearing masks
  • 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
  • Fake ADA Face Mask Card

Updated 10/19/2020 10 a.m.

There are 756,727 Florida cases. There have been 16,222 deaths.  

Okaloosa County has had 5,820 reported cases. There have been 129 deaths.

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

Executive Order 20-244 Phase 3

Section 1

This order supersedes and eliminates any and all restrictions of Executive Orders 20- 112 (Phase 1), 20-123 (Full phase 1) and 20-139 (Phase 2), as well as Executive Orders 20-192, 20-214 and 20-223, except as modified herein.

No capacity restrictions for restaurants/bars or entertainment businesses such as movie theatres and bowling alleys, 

Section 2

Restaurants, including any establishment with a food service license, may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than fifty percent (50%) of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than one hundred percent (100%) of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must on its face satisfy the following:

1. quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirement on those restaurants; and

2.explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health

Nothing in this order preempts or supersedes a non-COVID-19 municipal or county order.

Section 4

Suspension of COVID-19-related Individual Fines and Penalties This order, consistent with Executive Order 20-92, suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals.

DBPR Emergency Order 2020-009

Emergency Order to Lift Visitation Restrictions in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Other Long-Term Care Facilities  

 The Emergency Order requires all visitors to wear PPE pursuant to the most recent CDC guidelines, and those not making physical contact still must wear a mask. Per the Emergency Order, to accept general visitors, the facility must meet the following:  

  • No new facility-onset of resident COVID-19 cases within 14 days other than in a dedicated wing or unit that accepts COVID-19 cases from the community; 
  • If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the facility must immediately cease all indoor and outdoor visitation in the event that staff person was in the facility in the 10 days prior to the positive test;  
  • Sufficient staff to support management of visitors;  
  • Adequate PPE for facility staff;  
  • Adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies; and  
  • Adequate capacity at referral hospitals for the facility.  

Every facility must continue to prohibit the entry of any individual to the facility except in the following circumstances:  

  • Family members, friends and individuals visiting residents in end-of-life situations;  
  • Hospice or palliative care workers caring for residents in end-of-life situations;  
  • Any individual or providers giving necessary health care to a resident, provided that such individuals or providers comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for PPE, are screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entry and comply with all infection control requirements of the CDC and the facility;  
  • Facility staff and residents;  
  • Attorneys of Record for a resident in an Adult Mental Health and Treatment Facility or forensic facility for court related matters if virtual or telephonic means are unavailable;  
  • Public Guardians, Professional Guardians and their professional staff as defined in Florida Statue 744;  
  • Representatives of the federal or state government seeking entry as part of their official duties;  
  • Essential caregivers and compassionate care visitors; and  
  • General visitors under specific criteria set forth under the Emergency Order.

General visitors, i.e. individuals other than essential caregivers or compassionate care visitors, under the criteria detailed below.

To accept general visitors, the facility must meet the following criteria:

  • Other than in a dedicated wing or unit that accepts 7 COVID-19 cases from the community, the facility must have no new facility-onset of resident COVID-19 cases in the previous fourteen (14) days;
  • The facility must have fourteen (14) days with no new facility-onset of staff COVID-19 cases where a positive staff person was in the facility in the ten (10) days prior to the positive test;
  • Sufficient staff to support management of visitors;
  • Adequate PPE for staff, at a minimum;
  • Adequate cleaning and disinfecting supplies; and
  • Adequate capacity at referral hospitals for the facility.

General visitors must:

  • Be eighteen (18) years of age or older;
  • Wear a face mask and perform proper hand hygiene;
  • Sign a consent form noting understanding of the facility’s visitation and infection prevention and control policies;
  • Comply with facility-provided COVID-19 testing, if offered;
  • Visit in a resident’s room or other facility-designated area; and
  • Maintain social distance of at least six feet with staff and residents, and limit movement in the facility. 

Before allowing general visitors, the facility shall:

  • Prohibit visitation if the resident receiving general visitors is quarantined, positive for COVID-19 and not recovered (as defined by most recent CDC guidance), or symptomatic for COVID-19;
  • Screen general visitors to prevent possible introduction of COVID-19;
  • Establish limits on the total number of visitors allowed
  • in the facility based on the ability of staff to safely screen and monitor visitation, including limits on the length of visits, days, hours and number of visits per week;
  • Schedule visitors by appointment only;
  • Maintain a visitor log for signing in and out;
  • Immediately cease general visitation if a resident—other than in a dedicated wing or unit that accepts COVID-19 cases from the community—tests positive for COVID19, or is exhibiting symptoms indicating that he or she is presumptively positive for COVID-19, or a staff person who was in the facility in the ten (10) days prior tests positive for COVID-19;
  • Monitor visitor adherence to appropriate use of masks, PPE, and social distancing;
  • Notify and inform residents and their representatives of any changes in the facility’s visitation policy;
  • Clean and disinfect visiting areas between visitors and maintain handwashing or sanitation stations; and
  • Designate staff to support infection-prevention and control education of visitors on use of PPE, use of masks, hand sanitation, and social distancing.

Facilities allowing general visitation shall enable general visitation as described in either or both paragraphs 1 and 2 below:

  • Provide outdoor visitation spaces that are protected from weather elements, such as porches, courtyards, patios, or other covered areas that are protected from heat and sun, with cooling devices if needed.
  • Create indoor visitation spaces for residents in a room that is not accessible by other residents, or in the resident’s private room if the resident is bedbound and for health reasons cannot leave his or her room.
  • Each resident or his or her representative may designate up to five (5) general visitors. A resident may be visited by no more than two (2) general visitors at a time.
  • Each facility may require general visitors to submit to facility provided COVID-19 testing so long as use of testing is based on the most recent CDC and FDA guidance.

Individuals seeking entry to the facility, under the above section 1, will not be allowed to enter if they meet any of the screening criteria listed below:

  • Any person infected with COVID-19 who does not meet the most recent 10 criteria from the CDC to end quarantine.
  • Any person showing, presenting signs or symptoms of, or disclosing the presence of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, headache, muscle pain, repeated shaking with chills, new loss of taste or smell, or any other COVID-19 symptoms identified by the CDC.
  • Any person who has been in contact with any person(s) known to be infected with COVID-19, who does not meet the most recent criteria from the CDC to end isolation.

All visitors must immediately inform the facility if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or test positive for COVID-19 within fourteen (14) days of a visit to the facility.

Documentation showing compliance with the following requirements must be kept for all visitation within a facility:

  • Individuals entering a facility must be screened. To achieve this purpose, a facility may use a standardized questionnaire or other form of documentation.
  • The facility is required to maintain documentation of all non-resident individuals entering the facility. The documentation must contain:
    • Name of the individual entering the facility;
    • Date and time of entry;
    • The screening mechanism used by the facility to conclude that the individual did not meet any of the enumerated screening criteria. This documentation must include the screening employee’s printed name and signature.

Executive Order 20-120

  • 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. 
  •  
These reports will be published Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday will be published on Monday. The comprehensive county report (PDF) is published daily. 

October

10.19.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 100KB)
10.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
10.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
10.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 99KB)
10.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 99KB)
10.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
10.12.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 100KB)
10.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 99KB)
10.9.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
10.8.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
10.7.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
10.6.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
10.5.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
10.4.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
10.3.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
10.2.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
10.1.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)

September 

09.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 106KB)
09.29.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.27.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.25.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 95KB)
09.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.20.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.17.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.12.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 99KB)
09.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.10.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.09.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.08.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.07.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 98KB)
09.06.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 99KB)
09.04.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.03.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
09.02.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 97KB)
09.01.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB) 

August

08.31.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
08.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 96KB)
08.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.27.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.26.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 95KB)
08.25.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 94KB)
08.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 95KB)
08.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 95KB)
08.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 94KB)
08.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.20.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.19.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 134KB)
08.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.17.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 93KB)
08.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 133KB)
08.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 94KB)
08.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.12.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 132KB)
08.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.10.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.09.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 132KB)
08.08.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
08.07.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
08.06.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.05.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 131KB)
08.04.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
08.03.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.02.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
08.01.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)

July

07.31.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.29.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 131KB)
07.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.27.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.26.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 90KB)
07.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.20.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.19.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.17.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.12.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 92KB)
07.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 91KB)
07.10.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 3MB)
07.09.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
07.08.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
07.07.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
07.06.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
07.05.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
07.04.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 84 KB)
07.03.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
07.02.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
07.01.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)

June

06.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
06.29.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
06.28.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 86 KB)
06.26.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 3 MB)
06.25.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 84 KB)
06.24.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
06.23.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
06.22.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
06.21.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 85 KB)
06.18.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
06.17.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.16.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
06.15.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
06.14.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.13.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.12.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.11.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.10.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.09.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 84 KB)
06.08.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.07.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 84 KB)
06.05.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.04.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.03.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
06.02.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
06.01.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)

May

05.31.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 83 KB)
05.30.2020 Okaloosa County COVID-19 Report (PDF 82 KB)
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)

April

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)

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

COVID-19 testing is available at DOH-Okaloosa Monday-Friday. Appointments are required. Please call 850-344-0566 for an appointment. 

Drive-Thru Testing Schedule*

 
Tuesday, October 20
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.**
Northwest Florida State College
1170 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL
 
Thursday, October 22
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.**
Northwest Florida State College
100 E. College Blvd.
Niceville, FL

Other Providers Providing COVID-19 Testing PDF 80 KB(This list is not all inclusive) Testing may not be available due to demand and the availability of testing materials. Please call before going to a provider listed.

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
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness

Test results generally return to the CHD within 48-72 hours of testing. We will call all persons (positive or negative) within 24 hours of receipt of test results.

Test results from the testing site at Publix at 610 Eglin Parkway in Ft. Walton Beach are not available through the DOH-Okaloosa.  DOH-Okaloosa does not have access to lab results for patients tested by the military or private providers.

Health departments utilize molecular tests. The sample is usually collected with a nasal or oral swab. DOH-Okaloosa has been getting more than 85% of the test results back within 48 hours. Generally, all others are back within 72 hours. A few specimens may be delayed longer and sometimes individual’s test specimen must be collected again. Health departments do not have access to antigen testing.

There are some rapid tests that are molecular tests, but they can only be currently run in a hospital or commercial lab.

Antigen tests are also rapid tests. These can be used to identify active coronavirus infection if the specimen is collected in the first 5 days of illness from a person with symptoms like COVID-19. A sample is taken via a nasal or throat swab, the same as a molecular test. Positive antigen test results are included the county’s total number of positive cases.  A negative antigen test does not confirm that a person does not have COVID-19.

Antigen tests are considered probable cases. The DOH does not perform contact tracing on probable cases unless the individual is a member of a priority one group (long-term care resident or worker, healthcare worker, individuals attending or working in schools or institutions of higher education, persons 65 years and older).

Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnosis COVID-19. Please make sure what type of test you are getting if you are seeking information about an active COVID-19 infection.

More information about the types of tests

The Florida Department of Health Division of Medical Quality Assurance investigates complaints and reports involving health care practitioners regulated by the department and enforces appropriate Florida Statutes. Action which may be taken against health care practitioners is administrative in nature (e.g., reprimand, fine, restriction of practice, remedial education, administrative cost, probation, license suspension or license revocation). 

Florida Health Care Complaint Portal

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

It is possible have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Similarities:

Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

Differences:

  • Flu- Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above.
  • COVID-19- Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

The Florida Department of Health is warning residents to be wary of potential coronavirus-related scams that target people during the global pandemic.

Telephone scams regarding COVID-19 test results have been reported by Floridians.

Residents have been contacted by callers stating they are with the Florida Department of Health and request social security numbers and medical information before the caller can provide “COVID-19 results”.

Below are tips for how to protect yourself from scams, including the COVID-19 phone scam:

  • The Department will not call to ask for social security numbers or medical information
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.
  • Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money. Do not click any links in a text message or email that you are unsure of.
  • If someone is approached at their home by anyone claiming to work for the Florida Department of Health or dressed in protective medical gear, they are encouraged to ask for verification. All DOH staff will have a badge displayed.

FDA is warning consumers and health care professionals about certain hand sanitizer products, that are labeled to contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol but have tested positive for 1-propanol or methanol contamination.

1-propanol, not to be confused with 2-propanol/isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol, is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products marketed in the United States and can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

List of hand santizers consumers should not use

At this time, we have limited information about reinfections with the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a new virus, and CDC is actively working to learn more. We will provide updates as they become available. Data to date show that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within 3 months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19.

There are no confirmed reports to date of a person being reinfected with COVID-19 within 3 months of initial infection. However, additional research is ongoing. 

If a person who has recovered from COVID-19 has new symptoms of COVID-19, the person may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if the person has had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The person should isolate and contact a healthcare provider to be evaluated for other causes of their symptoms, and possibly retested.

The CDC now recommends a symptom- (or time-) based strategy based on accumulating evidence that prolonged isolation is unnecessary while awaiting a post-recovery COVID-19 test.

Key findings (with citations) include:

  1. Concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA measured in upper respiratory specimens decline after onset of symptoms.
  2. The likelihood of recovering replication-competent virus also declines after onset of symptoms. For patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, replication-competent virus has not been recovered after 10 days following symptom onset. Recovery of replication-competent virus between 10 and 20 days after symptom onset has been documented in some persons with severe COVID-19 that, in some cases, was complicated by immunocompromised state. However, in this series of patients, it was estimated that 88% and 95% of their specimens no longer yielded replication-competent virus after 10 and 15 days, respectively, following symptom onset.
  3. A large contact tracing study demonstrated that high-risk household and hospital contacts did not develop infection if their exposure to a case patient started 6 days or more after the case patient’s illness onset.
  4. Although replication-competent virus was not isolated 3 weeks after symptom onset, recovered patients can continue to have SARS-CoV-2 RNA (COVID virus name) detected in their upper respiratory specimens for up to 12 weeks. Investigation of 285 “persistently positive” persons, which included 126 persons who had developed recurrent symptoms, found no secondary infections among 790 contacts attributable to contact with these case patients. Efforts to isolate replication-competent virus from 108 of these case patients were unsuccessful.
  5. Specimens from patients who recovered from an initial COVID-19 illness and subsequently developed new symptoms and retested positive by PCR did not have replication-competent virus detected. The risk of reinfection may be lower in the first 3 months after initial infection, based on limited evidence from another betacoronavirus (HCoV-OC43), the genus to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs.
  6. Currently, 6 months after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, there have been no confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. However, the number of areas where sustained infection pressure has been maintained, and therefore reinfections would be most likely observed, remains limited.
  7. Serologic or other correlates of immunity have not yet been established. (Antibody testing should not be used to indicate recovery).

Duration of Isolation and Precautions

  1. For most persons with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions are discontinued 10 days after symptom onsetand resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of symptoms.
  2. For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions are discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive PCR test for the virus that causes COVID-19.
  3. A limited number of persons with severe to critical illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days that may warrant extending duration of isolation and precautions for up to 20 days after symptom onset. This group of individuals will usually be under the care of physician and will follow the physician’s guidance for return to work.

In all cases, PCR testing after COVID-19 illness IS NOT RECOMMENDED within 3 months after the date of symptom onset for the initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, quarantine is not recommended in the event of close contact with an infected person. Therefore, persons infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should not be excluded from work awaiting a negative PCR test for COVID-19. The DOH-Okaloosa will provide a return to work clearance via email (or via mail) for persons in Group 1 and 2 above if required by their employer. Group 3 may receive return to work clearance from either a physician or the health department, if needed.

We encourage ALL employers to modify their requirements for negative PCR test results before return to work. This needlessly prolongs isolation, keeps valued employees from returning to work and results in the unnecessary use of laboratory testing resources.

There are some antibody tests approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization. Make sure any antibody test you take has FDA EUA approval.

Some providers in Okaloosa may offer antibody tests. Antibody tests are not used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. Rather, these 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). 

List of FDA approved antibody tests

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.

Air travel: Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.

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: Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces.

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.

Tips to avoid getting and spreading COVID-19 in common travel situations:

In public:

  • Wear a mask in public settings.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.

Bathrooms and rest stops:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and after you have been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Getting gas:

  • Use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons at the gas pumps before you touch them (if available).
  • After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When you get to your destination, wash your hands with

International Travel Levels of Risk

No travel notice-Covid-19 Risk is Very Low

 

  • American Samoa
  • Anguilla
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Fiji
  • Guernsey
  • Greenland

  • Grenada
  • Isle of Man
  • Laos
  • Macau SAR
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • Mongolia
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia

  • Palau
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Pierre and
  • Miquelon
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Vietnam 

 

CDC recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to the following destinations:

Level 1 COVID-19 Risk is Low

  • New Zealand 
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Thailand

 

CDC recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness postpone all nonessential travel to the following destinations:

Level 2 COVID-19 Risk is Moderate

  • Bermuda
  • Malaysia
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Level 3 Covid-19 Risk is High- All other countries/destinations.

The CDC recommends defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.

You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels (domestic and/or international). You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick:

  • When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19 and take your temperature if you feel sick.

Most travelers can go back to work but should take precautions. Some travelers may have higher risk of exposure and should stay home for 14 days.

Activities considered higher risk

  • Being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19 spread. You can check the levels for places you traveled, including countries, U.S. states and territories, counties, and cities.
  • Going to a large social gathering like a wedding, funeral, or party.
  • Attending a mass gathering like a sporting event, concert, or parade.
  • Being in crowds – for example, in restaurants, bars, airports, bus and train stations, or movie theaters.
  • Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat.

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).
  • Spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
  • It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and wash hands often
  • Avoid groups of people and limit close contact with others (being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more)
  • When outside the home practice physical distancing (at least 6 feet)
  • Cover your mouth and nose with an appropriate face mask
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Monitor your health daily, which includes staying home when you have COVID-like symptoms or are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test

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.  Your personal and medical information will be kept private.

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 for someone with COVID-19 is defined as:

  • Anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.

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.

Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves

  • Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been infectious,
  • Notifying contacts of their potential exposure,
  • Referring contacts for testing,
  • Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and
  • Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period.

To prevent the further spread of disease, COVID-19 contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19. Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.

You are still considered a close contact even if you were wearing a cloth face covering while you were around someone with COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are meant to prevent someone from transmitting the disease to others, and not to protect someone from becoming infected.

Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control.

CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

  • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Masks should be worn by people two years and older
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
  • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators
  • CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time.

Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others.  This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.

A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.

  • Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Feasibility and Adaptations

In some situations, wearing a mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.

For example:

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear masks if they rely on lipreading to communicate. In this situation, consider using a clear mask. If a clear mask isn’t available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a mask that blocks your lips.
  • Some people, such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions or other sensory sensitivities, may have challenges wearing a mask. They should consult with their healthcare provider for advice about wearing masks.
  • Younger children (e.g., preschool or early elementary aged) may be unable to wear a mask properly, particularly for an extended period of time. Wearing of masks may be prioritized at times when it is difficult to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others (e.g., during carpool drop off or pick up, or when standing in line at school). Ensuring proper mask size and fit and providing children with frequent reminders and education on the importance and proper wear of masks may help address these issues.
  • People should not wear masks while engaged in activities that may cause the mask to become wet, like when swimming at the beach or pool. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe.
  • People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.
  • People who work in a setting where masks may increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery) may consult with an occupational safety and health professional to determine the appropriate mask for their setting. Outdoor workers may prioritize use of masks when in close contact with other people, like during group travel or shift meetings, and remove masks when social distancing is possible. 
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is typically 2 to 14 days.

The National Institutes of Health has lists the status of treatments under consideration for COVID-19.  Find out what’s new in the guidelines.

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 the Redcross 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.

The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These postings were not issued by the Department of Justice and are not endorsed by the Department.

More information on the fraudulent face masks flyers