Scott meets with PBC officials, urges vigilance on Hurricane Matthew

After a briefing at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center Monday, Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians to remain vigilant as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

“If Matthew impacts Florida, the destruction will be catastrophic, and you will need to be prepared,” Scott said.

Matthew’s projected path initially had the storm staying well west of Florida’s coast, but recent updates now take the storm closer, heightening concerns about effects from a storm packing 140 mile per hour winds.

“These storms can change at the last minute,” Scott said. “They can change directions. They can get stronger.”

Scott met with a range of county officials, including county commissioners, County Administrator Verdenia Baker, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and Superintendent Robert Avossa. The governor, who has declared a state of emergency for every county and put the Florida National Guard on alert, praised Palm Beach County’s elected officials and emergency personnel, saying they work well together.

Much of Scott’s focus, however, was on urging Floridians to get prepared for the possibility that the storm could change direction and bring its drenching rains and devastating winds to the Sunshine State.

He said residents should be prepared to take care of their own needs for three days, as storm damage could make it impossible for emergency personnel to reach some areas.

Scott also underscored the importance of heeding warnings from emergency officials. With the storm still hundreds of miles west of Florida, no school closings have been announced, nor have any evacuation orders been issued. But that could change if the storm’s path changes.

Residents should evacuate if ordered to do so, Scott said.

“You must leave before it’s too late,” Scott said. “We can rebuild a home. We can rebuild a business, but we can not rebuild your life. Do not ignore the direction of local officials. This is serious, and your safety depends on you being prepared.”

In addition to warning Floridians about Hurricane Matthew, the governor reminded residents about an ongoing threat – standing water, which serves as breeding pools for mosquitoes that could carry the Zika virus.

With Matthew expected to bring heavy rains to the state, Scott asked residents to act now to get rid of standing water.

“Get rid of standing water,” Scott said. “Wear bug repellent. Wear protective clothing. We’ve got to continue to fight Zika.”

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

 

 

Palm Beach County: We’ve distributed 240,000 Zika info flyers

ERMZika

zika2Even as the state Friday revealed two new travel-related cases of the Zika virus in Palm Beach County, the county already has distributed nearly a quarter million flyers educating people about the crisis, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said Friday in an update sent to commissioners and staff.

“We are monitoring this very fluid situation and will take further actions, if necessary. Our goal is to keep our residents and visitors safe,” Baker said in sending the update.

Also Friday. Gov. Rick Scott said that, of 20,000 mosquitoes tested across Florida , not a one has tested positive for the Zika virus, this as the state and its federal partners continue to reduce the danger zone in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

Baker said Friday that Palm Beach County now has four 2-person crews applying chemicals on the ground, searching for and emptying water containers, and educating residents, and has a person on call in the Glades. She said workers will be armed with “newer, lighter and more effective backpack sprayers and hand foggers.”

Baker also said the county’s mosquito control hotline has received an “unprecedented” volume of calls. She said the county’s health department has begun training local medical professionals to conduct educational seminars with homeowner associations. And she said, several agencies have stepped efforts to find and get rid of illegally-dumped waste tires, which fill with water and become prime mosquito breeder sites.

Baker
Baker

 

Baker said some 240,000 flyers have been distributed. They’re being put in county water bills and sent to county libraries and other county locations as well as Palm Beach International Airport and the Port of Palm Beach. She said the county’s working with local cities and utilities to distribute the materials as well. The flyers include one from Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (left).

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

Palm Beach County distributes new Zika flyer; Gov. Scott: Not one local mosquito found to carry virus

Zika

ERMZikaOf 20,000 mosquitoes tested across Florida , not a one has tested positive for the Zika virus, this as the state and its federal partners continue to reduce the danger zone in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Gov. Rick Scott said Friday.

“The only spot where we believe there is the risk of local transmission right now is Wynwood,” Scott told state legislators Friday afternoon in a 20-minute conference call.

Also Friday, Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management issued a new flyer reminding county residents how to help fight the spread of the virus (left).

 

On Thursday, in the Wynwood section, which researchers say is the source for the locally-contracted cases in Florida, a 10-block section to the northwest was declared clear of Zika mosquitoes.

But two new travel-related cases were found in Miami-Dade County, bringing the state’s total of those affected to 393, including 55 pregnant women.

Officials of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health have said the only way for a local mosquito to spread the disease locally is  to bite someone who has the virus, then transfer it as it bites a second person. Zika also can be transmitted sexually.

Philip
Philip

“We’re not surprised that we have local transmission,” Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip said in Friday’s conference call. But, she said, “If we can keep the

Scott
Scott

number of cases very low, that helps us do our part to protect pregnant women in our communities.”

 

Zika has been blamed for microencephaly, a condition in which a newborn’s head is smaller than expected, and the baby’s brain might not fully develop.

Scott and Philip also came in late June to West Palm Beach to huddle with Palm Beach County officials.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

ZIKA VIRUS: Read The Post’s complete coverage of the outbreak of the disease

Palm Beach County gets more state money to fight Zika mosquito

Nearly $90,000 more will go toward trying to control the mosquito behind the Zika virus emergency.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted to accept $89,001 in Florida Department of Health money. It will go toward labor, equipment and pesticides used to control mosquito larvae and adults.

Read Palm Beach Post coverage: myPalmBeachPost.com/zikavirus

Zika

Gov. Rick Scott hosts Zika roundtable in West Palm Beach

Caribbean_Mosquito_Virus.JPGov. Rick Scott today will gather with local officials in West Palm Beach for a roundtable on the Zika virus.

The event is set for 10 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Health Department, 800 Clematis St.

The Palm Beach County Division of Mosquito Control will spray Tuesday evening, in an effort to keep the mosquito population down for the Fourth of July weekend. But the county says that’s regular spraying for nuisance mosquitos and isn’t very effective against those carrying the Zika virus.