STAY HOME IF YOU'RE SICK • WASH YOUR HANDS • SOCIAL DISTANCING
Special Covid-19 Update
YOUR SAFETY IS OUR PRIORITY
The safety and well-being of the community is the City’s primary concern as we all work together to help deter the spread of COVID-19. As a City, there are a number of measures we’re taking to ensure we manage to safely get through this situation while continuing to serve our community and the citizens of Lakeland effectively. We are a community working together to provide an exceptional quality of life and even through this coronavirus pandemic, the City is dedicated to serving the citizens of Lakeland. 

We are all experiencing a new norm that includes many precautionary measures put in place to help keep the virus from spreading. In an effort to practice social distancing, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the City of Lakeland has closed a number of facilities to walk-in customers and we have introduced ways to continue business through online options. We certainly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our citizens but we must all do our part to help make sure the coronavirus does not spread throughout the community. As of  Friday, March 20 th  at 10 a.m. there are four positive COVID-19 cases in Polk County. We have been told by our major health care providers that those numbers are likely to increase as testing ramps up. 

The City of Lakeland has developed a dedicated webpage with a number of resources to help the community stay informed. You can find this site by visiting lakelandgov.net/covid19 . We ask that you continue to follow the guidelines outlined by the Center for Disease Control and the initiatives set in place by the White House to help curb the impacts of the virus. These guidelines are a few of the items you will find in this dedicated newsletter. We are all experiencing unprecedented times, but we will get through it by working together with the common goal to defeat this virus.

Sincerely,

Tony Delgado, City Manager
Lakeland Regional Health Press Conference - March 20, 2020
Today, Lakeland Regional Health conducted a press conference explaining their newly-established procedures as a result of the hospital having a confirmed COVID-19 patient. The press conference has the admitting doctor and  Dr. Daniel O. Haight, Infectious Disease Specialist,  both sharing information on the patient and the coronavirus. Click below to see the press conference video.
Florida Dept. of Health Dashboard
To keep Florida residents and visitors safe, informed and aware about the status of the coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health has launched a  COVID-19 dashboard  that will be updated twice daily. On Friday, March 20, there are 520 total Florida COVID-19 cases with seven in Polk County. This information is dynamic and the dashboard is updated as new information and cases are confirmed. Florida recently partnered with private laboratories around the state to expand COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity. This partnership will increase the number of tests conducted each day and ensure Floridians receive the critical health information they need in a timely manner. Expansion to private laboratories changes the COVID-19 testing landscape in Florida. Private laboratories will run tests as they receive swab samples from practitioners. Testing and reporting times will vary among commercial and DOH laboratories. Demographic information may be updated during investigations. These twice daily reports reflect the state’s efforts to accurately and transparently share information.
WASTEWATER DIVISION WARNS CUSTOMERS
IN THE ABSENCE OF TOILET PAPER DO NOT FLUSH PAPER TOWELS
AND WIPES

The City of Lakeland Waste Water Division warns those sheltering at home due to coronavirus concerns: Never flush any hygiene products other than toilet paper down your toilet. “Baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, paper towels or anything that isn’t actual toilet paper, must go directly into the trash,” said Bill Anderson, Director of Water Utilities. When flushed, these products clog sewer pipes and pump stations, increase utility maintenance, create environmental concerns and cause extra work throughout the wastewater system.
CORONAVIRUS DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM

The US Small Business Administration (SBA)   announced   a coronavirus disaster loan program on March 12,   offering   up to $2 million per business to help small firms overcome the   loss of revenue   amid the health crisis. Florida is one of the states that are on the approved list. The dire situation some businesses are facing underscores how close to the bone many entrepreneurs function. A few days’ delay wouldn’t matter to a large corporation, but it can make or break a small business and that is why Florida initiated the Bridge Loan Program.  Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program on March 16 th , allowing small companies to apply for loans to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 virus on their businesses. Florida business owners with two to 100 employees can apply for short-term interest-free loans of up to $50,000. To be eligible, a business must have been established before March 9 th  and demonstrate an economic impact related to COVID-19. Go to  FloridaDisasterLoan.org  for additional information.
At the Monday, March 16th City Commission Meeting, three of the top health care organizations in Lakeland had representatives address the City Commission and answer questions regarding the Coronavirus. The information shared on Monday was the latest at that point. Some of the information has changed as this situation is very fluid. Dr. Daniel O. Haight, Infectious Disease Specialist and Vice President of Community Health at  Lakeland Regional Health ; Dr. Steven Achinger, Managing Partner with  Watson Clinic ; and Dr. Joy Jackson, Director of Polk & Hardee Counties for the  Florida Department of Health (DOH)  provided an overview of the current response, protocols and challenges associated with the COVID-19 virus. Please take the time and watch the video segment to better understand the need for social distancing among many other bits of information on COVID-19.
Lakeland Electric Drop-Box Closed Until April 30
Lakeland Electric continues taking steps to minimize and slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our customers and employees. With that in mind, we are closing the drop-box located at 501 E. Lemon Street effective immediately until April 30 when we will re-evaluate.
 
There are many other ways our customers can conveniently make payments. Customers can access their accounts at home 24/7 at  lakelandelectric.com . Our customer service is ready to help you at (863)834-9535 (M-F 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) or at  customerservice@lakelandelectric.com .

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We appreciate your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.