DeLand, FL - During today's (April 14) Special Meeting, Volusia County Council members heard from a number of division heads. County Manager George Recktenwald said that the County is working closely with the cities and after twelve or so phone conferences, they are on the same page. "We've worked very heavily with the cities. I think we're all pretty much in lockstep except for some minor nuances. Cities do have a few different things as does the County but for the most part, we're right in lockstep of our operations."
Director of Public Protection Joe Pozzo said while they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, his department also has hurricanes and fire bans to think about. "Hurricane season is not too far out and we are contemplating sheltering now with COVID-19 perhaps still being present. So we'd essentially be dealing with two emergencies at one time." The County is working with four hotels, with one already secured and the contracts for the others in the works. Pozzo said these would be used for public safety, health care workers and homeless who may need to isolate for a 14-day period. He also said that the fire ban in Volusia County is still in place.
Beach Services Director Ray Manchester said to date they have handed out more than 1,300 warnings, with a lot of those over Easter weekend. He also said that it's easier to enforce the rules in some areas than in others. "The core area of Daytona is easier than the north peninsula, which is a bigger challenge because we're seeing that people have found that it's a place to go. We're also seeing Flagler County citizens coming down. We're adapting and adjusting as needed to that."
County Medical Examiner James Fulcher told the Council about his offices efforts during this pandemic. "We're screening cases and working closely with public health. We're working with them to make the best decisions on how to utilize the tests at this time." Fulcher also said they were able to get ahead of the pandemic because the Medical Examiner's Office is a private entity and they are stocked with personal protective equipment for the more than the foreseeable future. As for testing on people who have died, because of the availability of the tests, they are being judicious with the use of the tests.
Council also were told that Volusia County qualifies for direct funding from the federal government and expects to receive more than $96 million out of the $8.3 billion allotted to the state of Florida. The reason: the population is over 500,000.