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FDOH looks to help as COVID-19 cases increase in Immokalee

Cases of COVID-19 in Immokalee are increasing rapidly because health officials say people are not isolating because they can’t afford to miss work.

We looked at what Florida Department of Health Department is doing to help the community, as the numbers keep spiking.

More than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Immokalee were reported in the last week.

Frank Rincon knows what it’s like to get that phone call. He tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I was told to self-isolate at home,” Rincon said. “But it’s just too close to comfort for me to stay in my house with my wife and children.”

So Rincon is self-isolating at a local church where he has room.

“Many, many, many people, they can’t self-isolate,” Rincon said. “And a small structure and they only have one restroom, or you have quite a few people living in that home.”

“If determined that they cannot safely isolate in their home, we do have the means to provide a space offsite where they can isolate,” said Kristine Hollingsworth, with FDOH in Collier County.

Hollingsworth told us Collier County has 100 hotel rooms available.

“So they are providing three meals a day, so breakfast, lunch, dinner,” Hollingsworth said. “They are also provided groceries … at no cost to the patient.”

Commissioner Bill McDaniel told us Collier County is doing what it can take the pressure off coronavirus patients who fear they have no choice but to work.

“They need to pay their rent, make their mortgage payment,” McDaniel said. “We’ll work with their employers so that they don’t lose their job.”

In addition to offering those hotel rooms in Naples so people can self-isolate, Collier County is working on offering a similar service at Horizon Village in Immokalee.

“Self-isolation absolutely should be first and foremost on the minds of people that do come in contact with [COVID-19] because you don’t know how it impacts one person from the next,” Rincon said.

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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