MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Town of Bay Harbor Islands has declared a state of emergency after they were notified that a staffer believes she may have been exposed to the coronavirus in New York.

The woman, who lives in Broward, “has received emergency medical attention and has been told to go home and self isolate while awaiting further instructions from the Florida Department of Health,” according to the Town statement.

The woman has not been tested and is therefore not considered a presumptive case.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a CBS4 crew was at the Bay Harbor Island Community Center when workers in white biohazardous suits were seen giving the building a “deep cleaning” that had been ordered.

“On Wednesday morning, the employee contacted the Town Manager and provided information the employee says was told to them at the hospital concerning her condition. An internal communication was sent to all employees letting them know of the situation and the steps the Town is taking to ensure the health and welfare of all involved,” according to the Town’s website.

As a precaution, the Town has closed the community center and canceled all of the town events for the day.

Among other developments, the Miami Fire Department Chief says a Miami firefighter who recently travelled to California was taken to a hospital to be tested for the Coronavirus after feeling ill. No other information about him has been released about him.

Amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez flew to Washington, D.C. early Wednesday for a series of meetings with top officials. On his agenda were meetings with representatives from the cruise industry, the Florida congressional delegation and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

On Tuesday, Gimenez expressed concerns about the economic impact.

“Both the airport and seaport are responsible for about 500,000 to 600,000 jobs in our community. They are vitally important. They are the number one and number two economic generators here in Miami-Dade County,” he said.

Miami International Airport is seeing a decrease in passengers this month and airlines are cutting back flights, some by 10 to 12 percent.

An airport spokesman said since the middle of February there has an average reduction in the number of passengers of 10 percent. He added that was significantly less than other airports because Miami International does not have a direct route to Asian markets.

Business operators at the airport have been hard hit, retail sales are down 20 percent and restaurant revenues down 12 percent.

Coronavirus concerns have also taken a toll on restaurants in midtown Miami. Business owners there told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that there has been a significant drop in business.

Meanwhile, at the airport, passengers told D’Oench they are concerned but not alarmed.

“I normally wash my hands and am hygienic and now I use hand sanitizer more,” said Allison Zentz of Fort Worth, Texas.

“I would say I am concerned. I am more aware of the things I am doing and I am not freaking out,” said Gabby Wilkinson, also from Fort Worth.

“I mean, I am scared but I am taking precautions,” said Tamara Heath of Indianapolis.

“I am not overreacting. I am taking precautions and I especially am using hand sanitizers but you have to take trips and live life,” said Anastasia Acton from Indianapolis.

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In Miami-Dade, students who are sick are being told to stay home even if they think it is the common cold or the flu.

“Stay home. This is not the time to strive for perfect attendance,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

All perfect attendance incentives and recognitions for students have been suspended for the remainder of the academic year.

The school district partially activated its emergency command center Wednesday morning.

It has also opened a coronavirus hotline. The number is 305-995-3000.

In addition, MDCPS has launched a dedicated website for the most up-to-date information regarding schools and the coronavirus. It can be found at COVID19.DADESCHOOLS.NET

There is also a new website for its Instructional Continuity Plan for Emergency Schools Closures of District Schools

This is where online learning would continue should it be necessary to close a classroom, a school or a group of schools, but again, all schools remain open at this time.

School principals are being told to intensify the cleaning of schools and buses and promote personal hygiene.

Students and staff at schools that serve as polling sites for the March 17 primary election will be separated from voters. Once the polling stations close, the voting areas will be cleaned and sanitized.

The District is also prepared to distribute meals to students in schools that may close. In addition, it has petitioned for the relaxation of federal requirements governing the School Lunch Program to further expedite the provision of meals to those impacted.

Carvalho said Mayor Gimenez has assured him the county is ready to help should there be serious problems.

“He has offered if we need additional staff and should we need a sanitation SWAT team or equipment or supplies the county is ready to assist.”

He also said all school and after school activities are continuing but some travel is canceled.

“All out of country field trips are canceled until further notice,” he said. “An immediate moratorium has been placed on all out of state air travel.”

He also said all students and parents who have returned from high-warning level countries or a cruise who have exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus should contact the Florida Health Department.

Peter D'Oench

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