Call center opens for more virus info

  • Mary Garcia, Misty Hamling and Judy Kamys work at the coronavirus call center in Palatka.
    Mary Garcia, Misty Hamling and Judy Kamys work at the coronavirus call center in Palatka.

Despite no cases of coronavirus having been reported in Putnam County, local officials established a call center Tuesday dedicated to answering virus questions for residents. 

The center, which can be reached at 329-1904, is open 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Emergency Operations Center, 410 S. State Road 19 in Palatka. 

“We’re trying to have one spot to spread the exact messaging,” said Mary Garcia, administrator for the Department of Health in Putnam County. 

The center is run by a team of county employees and Department of Health medical employees, Garcia said.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 216 coronavirus cases have been reported in Florida, affecting counties such as Volusia, Clay and St. Johns, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

While 10 people in Putnam County were tested as Tuesday evening, eight people tested negative and there are no results for two others tested, according to 

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday during a press conference the closure of all Florida bars and nightclubs for 30 days. Restaurants can only be seated at half capacity, he said. 

“I think some of the steps we’re taking will really help reduce density, reduce crowds and I think it’s probably the best thing we can do at this point,” DeSantis said. 

Beach gatherings were also limited to 10 or fewer people per party to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

The Department of Health released additional guidelines Tuesday, stating people 65 or older who have health conditions should limit interactions. 

The state also advised people to avoid public transportation, avoid shaking hands, limit shopping during peak crowds and try to keep at least 6 feet between people. 

The Putnam County Board of Commissioners will have an emergency meeting 9 a.m. today to discuss emergency services, the status of future meetings and staffing details as the virus scare continues.

Putnam County residents can also call the Department of Health to ask questions at 866-779-6121.