February 27, 2020

FHA Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Florida's hospitals routinely plan, prepare and drill for epidemiologic situations as part of their mission to safeguard the health of the public. Infectious disease response is part of an all-hazards plan hospitals are required to maintain to address disease outbreaks like H1N1, Ebola, Zika and Coronavirus.

The state of Florida has confirmed cases of COVID-19. View the latest information from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), including on the number of COVID-19 cases, affected geographic areas and what to do to protect yourself online. The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) in coordination with the FDOH, is communicating regularly with hospitals and other health care stakeholders in Florida to monitor and share information regarding COVID-19.

Hospitals have implemented patient screening and detection protocols per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDOH's guidance. These protocols include, but are not limited to:

  • When scheduling appointments, instruct patients and persons accompanying them to call ahead or inform the hospital upon arrival if they have symptoms of any respiratory infection (e.g., cough, runny nose, fever) and to take appropriate preventive actions.
  • Take steps to ensure all persons with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) adhere to respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and triage procedures throughout the duration of the visit.
  • Ensure that patients with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) and waiting patients to be separated by 6 or more feet, with easy access to respiratory hygiene supplies.
  • Ensure rapid triage and isolation of patients with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough).
  • Vigilant disinfection of hard surfaces and clinical care areas.
  • Providing appropriate personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Hospitals are working to identify, isolate, treat and report suspected cases in cooperation with county health departments, state and federal partners.

Health care professionals also are reminding the public through conversations, displays in common areas, websites and other communication platforms to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of germs during flu and respiratory disease season, including washing hands, covering cough, staying home when sick and the flu vaccination.