Tampa sets new guidelines for elderly care facilities to mitigate spread of COVID-19

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced Tuesday a campaign to help keep the novel coronavirus COVID-19 out of assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and away from elderly patients.

Starting Wednesday, crews from the police, fire and code enforcement departments will visit more than 90 assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the city to provide them with information about how to stop the spread of the virus.

According to the CDC, people over 60 are considered high risk. The mortality rate for people over 70 is 8%. For those over 80, it's 15%.

"The coronavirus has come to the shores of our country and has hit our community as well," Castor said.

Mayor Castor said living facilities for older people must now post a warning on their entrances telling people who have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, coughing, and problems breathing, to stay out.

Visitors who are not showing symptoms will still be quizzed about their health, travel history, and possible contact with anyone who has the novel coronavirus disease.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

The mayor said she wants assisted living facilities and nursing homes to routinely test their residents, and also allow any staff members who may have come in contact with the virus to take medical leave.

Anyone who wants to receive the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in the city of Tampa can text tampaready to 888777. For Spanish, text tampalista to 888777.

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 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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