Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober: Require Masks When Visiting Businesses

By: Brevard County Commissioner Bryan Lober

As nearly everyone is aware, we are facing a noteworthy increase in the positivity rate of COVID-19 infection in Brevard County. Whether this is due to reopening, rallies, protests, or launches is irrelevant as the fact remains that our numbers recently skyrocketed.

From the outset of this pandemic, I have constantly maintained the position that we must not allow our local healthcare facilities to face the risk of being overrun. To that end, I have been in ongoing and regular contact with hospital administrators and managing physicians with the major healthcare systems countywide along with [the] Florida Department of Health officials and epidemiological staff.

We cannot, under any circumstances, allow local hospitals to run dangerously low on ventilators, hospital beds, gloves, face masks, or trained personnel. While we are not presently at risk of depleting supplies to unsafe levels, I was made aware that a situation is worsening which I firmly believe requires the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners to take preemptive preventative action.

For the first time since this crisis began, we are facing mounting hospital personnel shortages – largely on account of these front-line workers becoming infected with COVID-19 and unable to return to work while potentially infectious. While we are not at immediate risk of running out of medical personnel, should we sit idly without taking necessary action, we are at risk of this potentially happening in four to
six weeks.

Decisions regarding necessary governmental action must be based upon science, data, and expert epidemiological opinion, not upon lay opinion or political pressure. Having spoken with multiple emergency medicine physicians today, it is clear we must act to ensure we do not run into a situation where demand for emergency medical services may outpace [the] availability of those critical services.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Stalnaker, Health First Chief Physician Executive, in pertinent part, “Health First believes a universal masking policy will help slow the spread of this terrible virus and protect the health of your loved ones and neighbors. Wearing masks will also preserve our ability to treat patients who are ill and safeguard the health of our medical professionals on the frontlines providing care.”