2023 Hurricane Idalia Threat Assessment

2023 Hurricane Idalia Threat Assessment

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Healthcare Ready's Posture

Healthcare Ready is ENGAGED for this event. We are monitoring potential concerns for supply chain disruptions and impacts on healthcare services on our response page, listing resources and previous situation reports.

Situation Overview

Healthcare Ready has activated our EOC and Hotline for patients to call for support in navigating their personal healthcare needs. This compliments our activation of www.rxopen.org which maps the status of pharmacies, Community Health Centers, Dialysis Clinics.

  • As of Tuesday, August 29, Hurricane Idalia is projected to make landfall, as a Category 3 Hurricane, along the Florida Gulf Coast early Wednesday morning.
    • Life-threatening storm surges can be expected across the Florida Gulf Coast. Flash flooding can be expected across the Florida Gulf coast, southern Georgia, and then spreading into the Carolinas over Wednesday and Thursday.
  • On Monday, August 28, President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Florida ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia’s impact. This entails Federal assistance to supplement response efforts for the potential impacts the storm might bring.
  • On Saturday, August 26, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 33 counties along the gulf coast of Florida.   

Public & Private Sector Preparedness Efforts

  • The Florida State Surgeon General signed an emergency order that waives restrictions around medical professionals working across Florida in response to the impacts of Hurricane Idalia. This allows all medical professionals, with valid professional licenses issued by states other than Florida, to provide medical services for individuals affected by this emergency under two conditions: the services will be free of charge and will be backed by either the American Red Cross (ARC) or the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
  • Additionally, pharmacists are permitted to distribute existing refill prescriptions early to individuals in an affected county. If a pharmacist receives a prescription refill request but they are unable to obtain refill authorization, the pharmacist can dispense a one-time emergency refill of one vial of insulin to treat diabetes mellitus.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) submitted a federal waiver request for early release of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This will expedite benefits for those receiving food assistance during the first couple of weeks in September.
  • The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is coordinating with wholesale distributors of prescription drugs and medical gas to ensure that potentially impacted individuals are able to access medical supplies and product.
  • Evacuation orders for Florida have been released and can be found here. The list below is not an exhaustive list and will continue to be updated on FDEM evacuation order page.
    • The following counties are under mandatory evacuation orders:
      • Citrus County
      • Dixie County
      • Franklin County
      • Gulf County
      • Hillsborough County
      • Lafayette County
      • Levy County
      • Manatee County (Level A evacuation)
      • Pasco County
      • Pinellas County
      • Suswannee County
      • Taylor County
    • The following counties are under voluntary evacuation orders:
      • Alachua County
      • Baker County
      • Gilchrist County
      • Hernando County
      • Jefferson County
      • Madison County
      • Manatee County (Level B evacuation)
      • Marion County
      • Sarasota County
      • Sumter County
      • Union County
      • Volusia County
      • Wakulla County
  • In preparation for Hurricane Idalia, several general population shelters have been opened in the following counties. The list below is not an exhaustive list and will continue to be updated on FDEM shelter page.
    • Manatee County
      • Mills Elementary
      • Freedom Elementary
      • Miller Elementary
    • Pinellas County
      • Palm Harbor University High School
      • Largo High School
      • Gibbs High School
      • Carwise Middle School
      • Palm Harbor Middle School
      • Lealman Innovation
      • Campbell Park ES
      • New Heights
    • Volusia County
      • Volusia County Fairgrounds
    • Hernando County
      • D.S. Parrott Middle School
      • West Hernando Middle School
      • Hernando High School
      • Nature Coast Tech High
  • Additionally, several special needs shelters have been opened in the following counties. It is important to note that access into these shelters requires a registration on the Florida Special Needs Registry.
    • Manatee County
      • Nolan Middle Special Needs
    • Pinellas County
      • John Hopkins Middle School
      • Palm Harbor University High School
    • Volusia County
      • Volusia County Health Department
    • Hernando County
      • West Hernando Middle School
    • Polk County
      • Polk County Health Department Specialty Care Unit
  • Uber is offering free, round-trip rides (up to $35 each way) to and from shelter locations in Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Manatee, and Pinellas counties. The promotional code “IDALIARELIEF” must be entered to redeem the free ride.
  • As of Monday, August 28, Rosen Hotels and Resorts activated their Florida Resident Distress Rates which allows evacuees an affordable place to shelter during the storm.

Critical Healthcare Infrastructure

  • As of Tuesday, August 29, all long-term care facilities in Florida have an operable generator on-site.
  • Hospitals in the expected path of Hurricane Idalia are taking action to ensure the safety of their patients and staff. As of Monday, August 28, three Tampa Bay hospitals were evacuated and closed due to the potential flooding and impacts from Hurricane Idalia. Additionally, patients in HCA hospitals located in New Port Richey and West Tampa were transferred to other facilities for their safety.
  • Based on the HHS emPOWER Map, which displays the total number of at-risk electricity-dependent Medicare beneficiaries, Florida accounts for nearly five million total beneficiaries with over 188,000 at-risk beneficiaries.
    • The Tampa area, which is where a lot of the at-risk beneficiaries are located, is expected to see heavy impacts from Hurricane Idalia.
    • It will be critical to ensure that those at-risk beneficiaries, that rely on electricity-dependent durable medical equipment, have access to power so they can charge their equipment and continue self-care.
  • The image below represents a heatmap of healthcare facilities (including Hospitals, pharmacies, Dialysis Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers) in the counties expecting to face impacts of Hurricane Idalia. 
  • Healthcare facilities are centered on metropolitan areas, including Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota and Jacksonville.
    • The area around Tampa is expected to receive the brunt of the impact from initial landfall, and we expect healthcare facilities’ needs to expand in the coming days on the western coast of the state.
      • The scale of the map can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner.
  • The table below shows the number of critical healthcare facilities in the potential affected areas.

Supply Chain and Logistics

  • As of Saturday, August 26, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has identified a potential widespread fuel contamination originating from the Port of Tampa. Any fuel that was purchased after 10:00 AM EST on Saturday, August 26, at gas stations supplied by CITGO from the Port of Tampa could potentially be contaminated. Please find that list of the affected gas stations here.
    • Contaminated gas has the potential of causing engine damage and inoperability which could impact individuals trying to evacuate the area. Additionally, individuals or entities that rely on gas operated generators could see impacts once Hurricane Idalia makes landfall.
    • Especially when preparing for Hurricane Idalia, it is essential that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is working with other petroleum retailers to ensure that individuals can access fuel.
  • On Sunday, August 27, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) issued an emergency order that allowed alternate size and weight restrictions for cargo on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and/or personnel.
    • The FDOT also issued an Emergency Road Use Permit Letter that overweight vehicles should use in conjunction with the referenced maps found here.
    • On Saturday, August 26, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) issued an Emergency Order to waive:
      • Registration requirements for vehicles entering Florida to provide emergency services or transport supplies.
      • The hours-of-service requirements for emergency response vehicles until September 25, 2023.
  • The Florida Department of Health released a curfew letter which would grant healthcare workers the ability to travel to and from work outside of established curfews in order to deliver medical supplies and/or services to facilities.
  • On Monday, August 28, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he will be suspending the enforcement of tolls across the Florida Gulf Coast, so individuals are able to quickly evacuate the area. The tolls will be waived, for a one-week period, starting at 4:00 AM EST on Tuesday, August 29.
    • Hillsborough County
    • Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco Counties
    • Lake and Sumter Counties and Portions of Orange County
    • Pinellas County
  • There is a concern around the access to Davis Island if Tampa Bay is hit hard by the storm as there are only two bridges that connect the island to the mainland.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, Port Tampa Bay has shut down all inbound vessel traffic. The port’s waterways have been closed however the landside port operations are still operational to ensure that fuel is able to move out of the port.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, Orlando International Airport is open and operational – and they do not plan on changing that status.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, Tampa International Airport has closed due to the potential impacts of Hurricane Idalia. They will remain closed until they can assess damages once the storm has passed – however they anticipate resuming operations Thursday, August 31.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport will close due to the potential impacts of Hurricane Idalia. They plan to resume operations on Wednesday, August 30 pending the severity of impacts.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, SunRail will be suspending service until after the storm passes and a complete inspection of the railway can be assessed.
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) is operating on Emergency Service Level due to the potential impacts from Hurricane Idalia. This entails:
    • Free service all day on August 29
    • Fixed-route bus service from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST
    • Additionally, Hillsborough County Public School buses will be transporting riders from the following HART transit centers in Tampa to shelters:
      • Netpark Transfer Center
      • Yukon Transfer Center
      • Northwest Transfer Center
      • University Area Transit Center
  • As of Tuesday, August 29, all four regional railroads (Florida Northern, Florida Midland, Florida Central and Port Manatee Railroads) will be suspending service in preparation for Hurricane Idalia.

About Healthcare Ready

Healthcare Ready is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to ensure patient access to healthcare in times of disaster, emergency, and disease outbreaks. We leverage unique relationships with government, nonprofit and medical supply chains to build and enhance the resiliency of communities before, during and after disasters. Learn more about Healthcare Ready

To request the help of our Emergency Operations Center, contact us at alerts@healthcareready.org.   

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