Collier Commissioners Decide to Wait on Stay-at-Home Order
The Collier County Board of County Commissioners convened Friday for an emergency meeting to hear from the public on a possible shelter-in-place order, ultimately deciding not to order a county-wide shut down yet. Three Commissioners were there in person, sitting one seat apart from one another. Two joined by phone.
First, Dan Summers, Director of Emergency Services, and Kathleen Maar from the Florida Department of Health in Collier gave updates on numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The board then heard from medical leaders, including NCH Health System CEO Paul Hiltz; the past president of the Collier County Medical Society, Dr. Cesar De Leon; and Dr. Zubin Pachori, who had just come off doing rounds at Physicians Regional.
Commissioners heard that for the first time there are more community transmitted case of the virus than travel-related cases in the county.
When asked if Collier's health system has adequate beds to treat people who need intensive care, Hiltz said they have 300 beds, but that it’s impossible to make any predictions whether this is sufficient as the number of infections is unknown due to lack of community-wide testing.
Dr. Pachori urged Comissioners to order people to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the community, saying overwhelming the system would lead to more deaths. "You can eat an elephant in small pieces, but you can't eat an elephant all at once," Pachori said.
The proposed order exempted 35 types of businesses, which led some commissioners to question whether it would even be effective. Board members also expressed concern over issuing a stay at home order in one county when neighboring counties have not.
Public comment pushed the meeting into three and a half hours before commissioners voted to wait on any stay at home order until early next week when Lee County's plans become more clear.