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West Palm Beach prepares for coronavirus at Emergency Operations Center

Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 16:26:35-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach leaders are working around the clock to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

On Thursday, officials gave WPTV an inside look at their Emergency Operations Center on Congress Avenue.

Assistant Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Brent Bloomfield showed our news crew their hub of operations where they collect and analyze data and launch initiatives related to COVID-19.

However, unlike a hurricane response, many people at the EOC are now working remotely.

Bloomfield said this situation is also different because the city is responding and recovering at the same time, forcing them to think outside the box.

The emergency manager added that while reopening is on a lot of people's minds, there are many things that need to be considered before doing that.

"I don’t think we’re there yet," said Bloomfield. "We need to be very cautious about what we do moving forward. We don’t want another outbreak and we definitely don’t want another spike."

Leaders are also starting to think ahead to hurricane season, which starts on June 1, and what shelters and evacuations may look like if COVID-19 is still an issue.

Bloomfield also said that West Palm Beach leaders are making sure the most vulnerable residents are taken care of, creating a one-of-a-kind task force to check on nursing homes.

The city has created a nursing home and assisted living task force to make sure facilities have the personal protective equipment they need, and to offer any resources.

The task force is also checking generators to get ahead for hurricane season.

"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.

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