Hospital leaders urge Manatee, Sarasota Counties to do more to prevent spread of COVID-19

With a large number of retirees living in Manatee County, Kevin DiLallo, chief executive officer of Manatee Memorial Hospital, knows their fight against COVID-19 could just be beginning. 

"I'm concerned,” DiLallo said. “I know we say we can’t do things, but our population as you know we have a high percentage of citizens that are 70 and 80.”

DiLallo continues to implore leaders to think and act on shutting down the non-essentials of daily life. He said, "I think we need to get a little more proactive.”

Something of that magnitude, such as a shelter in place or stay at home policy, would require a vote by Manatee County Commissioners. 

The director of public safety would need to bring it up, but only if local leaders want it. They've already shut down beaches and boat ramps to help, but DiLallo wants them to take it further.

"I understand that you don’t want to affect businesses, that you don’t want to shut things down,” DiLallo said. “I’d like to see you be a little more aggressive to shut down non-essential businesses and parks.”

DiLallo’s not alone. Sarasota Memorial Hospital CEO David Verinder said it may take more restrictive actions to slow the number of cases. 

"We would encourage the county or the city to make as many policies as they can to limit social contact and have people stay at home and wait this out," said Verinder. "We really believe if we can wait this out for a couple of weeks we may never have the surge that you see in other parts of the country and the world.” 

On Thursday, the city of Sarasota banned groups of ten or more to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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