Alachua County already satisfies Phase 1 criteria


The Alachua County Commission met this morning to discuss potential changes to their Emergency Orders.

The only change they made today was to eliminate the burn ban (note that the revised Emergency Order has not been issued yet), so county residents who normally burn their yard trash can resume doing that. Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson said it made sense to do that because we are not in a drought condition, area fire departments have plenty of capacity, and many people are doing yard work while they’re stuck at home and are accumulating piles of debris.

As a prelude to a discussion about reopening the economy, Paul Myers, Alachua County Administrator for the Florida Department of Health, said that Alachua County already meets the gating criteria for Phase 1 of the federal government guidelines for reopening.

The criteria include:

  • Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period
  • Downward trajectory of covid-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period
  • Downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period
  • Hospitals treat all patients without crisis care
  • Robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing

The County Commission, however, said they have little power to change much locally because the definitions of essential and non-essential businesses, as well as the decision to close “non-essential” businesses, came from the state. Satisfaction of the criteria, though, means that when the governor decides to start loosening restrictions, Alachua County is positioned to be one of the early counties to do so.

Unfortunately, the screenshots from the meeting are blurry. We’ve requested the presentation and will update these with better images as soon as we can.