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How will coronavirus affect hurricane shelters and aid?

Posted at 6:46 AM, May 13, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hurricane season officially starts June 1, but due to the coronavirus pandemic preparations are a little more complicated this year. Emergency officials are adapting and making changes to their shelter and evacuation plans.

With the possibility of a subtropical system forming near the Bahamas, officials say now is the time prepare and come up with solutions to help keep residents safe.

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Assistant Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Brent Bloomfield said one of the main concerns for the City of West Palm Beach is the most vulnerable population, senior citizens.

The city has a nursing home and assisted living task force designed to make sure facilities have the personal and protective equipment to stay safe. The task force has also been instructed to check on generators at the nursing home facilities to make sure they are functioning properly.

"My biggest concern for us as a city is that if this gets into an [assisted living facility] or nursing home and starts to spread, that’s gonna create a bigger problem for us and create a strain on the system as far as the EMS system and hospital," said Bloomfield.

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Bloomfield said there is one police officer and one firefighter on the task force.