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St. Lucie County issues 'safer-in-place' order for residents

'This is not a shelter-in-place order,' county administrator says
New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 10:10:26-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — St. Lucie County issued a "safer-in-place" order on Tuesday, urging residents to stay in their homes whenever possible.

"This is not a shelter-in-place order," said County Administrator Howard Tipton. "It is not that restrictive. It is a message to our community to stay in place when you can."

The order, which goes into effect on Saturday, allows all businesses to remain open if they can maintain proper social distancing guidelines.

"This is not a curfew," said Commissioner Cathy Townsend. "You are going to be allowed to go and do the things you need to do. You're gonna be able to go out and about as long as you're practicing your safety and sanitization."

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Under the order, all St. Lucie County buildings and offices, with the exception of emergency services, will be closed every Friday through the month of April.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Lucie County.

Eight people have been hospitalized because of the virus in the county, and two have died.

All St. Lucie County beaches on North and South Hutchinson Island are closed, and all schools will be closed until at least May 1.

RELATED: First coronavirus death reported in St. Lucie County

A drive-through COVID-19 testing site is now open at Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital, located at 10000 SW Innovation Way in Port St. Lucie.

Testing is being done by appointment only.

If you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call the Cleveland Clinic hotline at 772-419-3360.

A nurse will screen you over the phone and discuss your symptoms, whether you've traveled recently, and if you've been exposed to anyone with coronavirus.

"If a person meets that criteria, they will get an appointment for a drive-through location," said Rob Lord, the President of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, at a news conference last week. "They won't even need to get out of their car."

For the latest updates about St. Lucie County's coronavirus response, click here.