The Lake County School District, alongside the local branch of the Florida Department of Health and the Lake County Emergency Operations Center, are coordinating a potential response to coronavirus in Lake County. So far, no local cases have been reported, though three individuals in the state have been diagnosed.

TAVARES — As state officials deal with the blowback from an apparent 24-hour delay of informing the public about coronavirus cases in Florida, local institutions are taking a proactive look at the virus, Lake County School District officials said Monday.


And while there are no reported cases in the county, the district has been using its website and social media to educate their followers on the virus, as well as telling students, faculty and staff to follow CDC guidelines for disease prevention, District Communications Officer Sherri Owens said. The school district first posted a coronavirus message to school websites on Thursday.


“You saw the pop-up on the web sites, so you know that we are sharing with students and staff the preventative measures outlined by the CDC,” Owens said.


The methods include “frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home when you are sick.”


“Additionally, we are checking all soap dispensers and keeping them filled, and we are regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces,” Owens added.


Owens has been involved in the development of messaging for the school ahead of potential local cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the strain of coronavirus which began an outbreak in Wuhan, China in late 2019.


She said the school district is also getting advisory emails from the CDC and working with both the Department of Health and Lake County Emergency Operations Center to ensure accurate information is getting to the community in a timely manner.


The coalition is also meeting this week to discuss the topic and plan a response “should we have a confirmed case of the virus in our community,” Owens said.


Owens said that the schools don’t currently have plans to share with the public, but they will be reaching out to the public and to the media quickly should things escalate.


Three cases of COVID-19 were reported in Florida over the past few days.


One instance is a Manatee County man in his 60s, the other two were two sisters in Hillsborough County, who are in their 20s and recently traveled to northern Italy.


State officials said Monday that the patients were in stable condition, though one of the individuals had not traveled recently and was not in contact with the other, leading to some concerns the virus may have spread silently before the cases were caught.


The news didn’t shift plans for the school district, Owens said, as the district is already taking the necessary steps.


The inter-agency meeting to prepare a response plan will continue as planned this week.