Osceola County is working on opening its first drive-up public testing site for the novel coronavirus next week. County officials said there will be more specific information available, such as the location, hours and health care partner in coming days.
That news came from a press conference of Osceola’s Executive Policy Group Friday.
Additionally, the county has debuted a new dashboard, with easier access to critical Osceola-specific health and pandemic information. It can be found at the county’s website (www.osceola.org) and is best viewed on a computer or table rather than a smartphone.
It has previously-unavailable information, like the total of available hospital and ICU beds across the Osceola County and Central Florida counties, and at individual hospitals and ambulatory centers (as of 3 p.m. Friday the county has 329 available beds).
Osceola County Emergency Operations Manager Bill Litton said the county has regular discussions with front-line health care officials on the supply of PPE.
It also breaks down COVID-19 cases by zip code, demographic information about the cases, and the economic damage to county businesses, which shows $27 million of downtown and 1,000 layoffs among those county businesses who have self-reported information.
Osceola County is forming a small business task force, “to get Osceola County back to work,” Osceola County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer said. A cross-section of members of the Kissimmee/Osceola County and St. Cloud Chambers of Commerce will meet next week to look at how and when some businesses could reopen. The county will also be working with its theme park partners in Orange County as returning tourism will be a key part of the county’s future success.
St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell stressed the city’s “Heroes Work Here,” campaign, and Janer said the community has seen the payoff of efforts to stay at home and practice social distancing.
“We won’t be able to flip a switch, our recovery will be scaleable,” she said. “The data trends are promising, but we have to continue the efforts. We ask everyone to be patient, be flexible and take care of yourselves and each other.