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 ALACHUA COUNTY – Alachua County is informing residents of two recently enacted orders intended to help and protect the community during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-94 (Emergency Management - COVID-19 - Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief)

This order provides a 45-day suspension of eviction actions for mortgage foreclosures and non-payment of rent. From the Order:

WHEREAS, I find that providing targeted, temporary relief to Floridians with residential tenancies is in the best interest of the state and its people; and

WHEREAS, as Governor, I am responsible for meeting the dangers presented to this state and its people by this emergency.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (1)(a) of the Florida Constitution, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:

Section 1. I hereby suspend and toll any statute providing for a mortgage foreclosure cause of action under Florida law for 45 days from the date of this Executive Order, including any extensions.

Section 2. I hereby suspend and toll any statute providing for an eviction cause of action under Florida law solely as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency for 45 days from the date of this Executive Order, including any extensions.

Section 3. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving an individual from their obligation to make mortgage payments or rent payments.

Read the full Executive Order

Alachua County Emergency Order protects employees right to wear their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

No private employer or owner of a business in Alachua County shall prevent an employee or member of the public from wearing their PPE of choice while on their premises in Alachua County or during the performance of their job duties until commercially manufactured PPE becomes widely available. However, the business owner or their representative is not required to allow the use of any PPE which is obscene or contains a message that is not appropriate.

Click to read the full order.

For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or msexton@alachuacounty.us.

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ALACHUA - For up-to-date information about COVID-19 Testing & Information, Resident Resources, Business Resources, Florida Department of Health, Centers For Disease Control & Prevention, and a message from our Mayor, Gib Coerper, visit www.cityofalachua.com

The City of Alachua continues to monitor and take necessary precautions related to COVID-19, consistent with the recommendations and mandates of Federal and State agencies.

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ALACHUA – The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a contract valued at $14 million with Alachua based Ology Bioservices Inc., a biologics contract development and manufacturing organization, to develop and manufacture a monoclonal antibody for treatment and prevention of infection with the COVID-19 virus.

“It gives DOD and interagency partners like Health and Human Services, along with our partners in industry and academia, the ability to respond quickly and develop the treatments our warfighters need to fight COVID-19 so they can continue protecting the nation.”

This work is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs with funding from the Defense Health Agency.

Under this program, Ology Bioservices will work with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tennessee to develop and manufacture the monoclonal antibody. The aim of the program is to rapidly and efficiently deliver the antibody to the Department of Defense.

Peter H. Khoury, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ology Bioservices, noted, “We are tremendously honored to be working with the Department of Defense and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to rapidly respond to this crisis. The Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility operated by Ology Bioservices stands ready to meet the needs of the U.S. warfighter and the nation at large.”

"The global health crisis we're seeing unfold right now with the coronavirus disease 2019 is exactly the kind of scenario the medical countermeasures Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility was built for,” said Douglas Bryce, Joint Program Executive Officer for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense. “It gives DOD and interagency partners like Health and Human Services, along with our partners in industry and academia, the ability to respond quickly and develop the treatments our warfighters need to fight COVID-19 so they can continue protecting the nation."

Matthew Hepburn, M.D., Joint Project Lead CBRN Defense Enabling Biotechnologies, added, “This contract represents the realization of the prior investment in the DOD Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility, in order to respond to biological threats and pandemics. The Ology Bioservices team will now endeavor to make a product to keep DOD personnel safe.”

Under the proposed terms of a pending agreement with VUMC, researchers in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center (VVC) will be tasked in this program with rapid antibody discovery efforts as a performance site for the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) network of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“Our team has been pushing 24/7 to isolate human monoclonal antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, and we are gratified to have the partnership of Ology Bioservices and the support of the U.S. DOD to prepare clinical grade antibody materials for rapid testing in clinical trials,” said James Crowe, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.

“This collaborative effort with the U.S. DOD Enabling Biotechnologies Office is a natural extension of our current effort to rapidly discover and deploy protective monoclonal antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 through the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Program (P3),” added VVC Associate Director Robert H. Carnahan, Ph.D. “Partnering with Ology Bioservices will allow these antibodies to quickly move towards human clinical trials in the coming months.”

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ALACHUA – Alachua based Ology Bioservices Inc., a biologics contract development and manufacturing organization and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., have announced that the Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded Ology Bioservices with a contract valued at $11.9 million to work with Inovio on DNA technology transfer to rapidly manufacture DNA vaccines. This work is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs with funding from the Defense Health Agency.

“Given the current global health crisis, prophylaxis/vaccine development is critical to defend against the coronavirus disease 2019”

Under this program, Ology Bioservices will work with Inovio Pharmaceuticals to manufacture Inovio’s DNA vaccine (INO-4800) for prevention of infection with the COVID-19 virus. The aim of the program is to rapidly and efficiently deliver the vaccine to the DoD for upcoming clinical trials.

Peter H. Khoury, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ology Bioservices, noted, “We are excited to be working with the DOD and Inovio to rapidly respond to this crisis. The Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility operated by Ology Bioservices was designed to respond to just such emergencies as we are now experiencing, and we are proud to be part of this effort to protect the U.S. warfighter and the nation.”

  1. Joseph Kim, Ph.D., Inovio’s President and CEO, said, “Along with advancing INO-4800 through clinical studies as rapidly as possible, Inovio’s goal is to scale up the manufacturing of this vaccine for future studies and for potential emergency use, if appropriate.

“Powered by the U.S. Department of Defense support, Inovio is pleased to partner with Ology to enable rapid response manufacture of INO-4800 especially for the nation’s warfighters and other military personnel. This DOD-funded partnership is a testament to the importance and strength of public-private partnerships in meeting the challenges the world faces with the COVID-19 outbreak. This partnership increases Inovio’s manufacturing capabilities for our COVID vaccine and establishes an additional DNA vaccine manufacturing facility to protect the U.S. military against current and future disease outbreaks.”

"Given the current global health crisis, prophylaxis/vaccine development is critical to defend against the coronavirus disease 2019,” said Douglas Bryce, Joint Program Executive Officer for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense. “We need several approaches to ensure we have a quick solution, and the medical countermeasures Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility is poised to contribute to the race for a vaccine in coordination with our interagency partners like Health and Human Services, along with our partners in industry and academia.”

Matthew Hepburn, M.D., Joint Project Lead CBRN Defense Enabling Biotechnologies, stated, “We are sincerely optimistic about the partnership between Inovio and Ology Bioservices, in order to make doses of a vaccine that could potentially protect our military personnel. It is urgently needed.”

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FLORIDA - Florida's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard; Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection

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NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry is moving the scheduled April election to August. During the March 23 City Commission meeting, commissioners grappled with the best way to proceed with the scheduled April 14 municipal election in light of the Covid-19 virus.

Although the City has urged people to request vote by mail ballots this year, City Clerk Judy Rice said that only 25 people have chosen to vote in that manner so far.

Safety measures identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding slowing the spread of the Corona Virus focused the City’s attention on how to adequately protect citizens who show up to vote at the polls. Options to move the polling location to a larger facility and to establish six-foot wide separations between voters waiting in line were discussed, but not pursued.

In addition, he Alachua County Stay-at-Home Order issued on Monday, March 23 significantly limits candidates’ ability to meet with voters. Mayor Jordan Marlowe said he had asked candidates not to go door-to-door to visit with voters at this time.

After careful deliberation and discussion on possible alternative dates in June or August, as well as consideration of proceeding with the April 14 election date, commissioners voted to move the election to the second Tuesday in August. Incumbent Commissioner Monty Farnsworth abstained from voting on the election date to avoid a possible conflict of interest.

Mark Clark and Walt Boyer, both of whom have already qualified, as well as the sitting commissioners, said they believed the Aug. 11 date would be less costly to the City in terms of financial expense and public safety.

Normally, the County Supervisor of Elections trains volunteers to act as poll workers. Many who have served in that capacity in the past are retired citizens, some of whom would be at high risk. With the threat of the Corona Virus many who normally volunteer to serve have decided to stay at home. Due to the lack of normal County-provided poll workers, the City would be required to provide their own people.

A suggestion that City employees could be asked if they might want to volunteer to serve in that capacity was raised. The City Attorney suggested that employees might feel obligated to volunteer. This option would also cost the City more as they would have employees out for an eight-hour training session one day and would also be required to be at the polling location for 10-12 hours on April 14, which would mean overtime.

Although Alachua County may well still be in the grip of Covid-19 in August, the extension of time will allow the City to develop additional action plans. Another benefit of extending the election to August is that the County Supervisor of Elections will be training their own poll workers for the August election date, which alleviates the need for the City to address that issue.

Commissioner Rocky McKinley originally agreed to serve until the April election. Mayor Marlowe said he had asked McKinley if he would stay on to serve if Commissioners decided to change the election date. He said he would remain in his position until a new commissioner is elected.

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ALACHUA COUNTY - A message from the Alachua County School Board to Alachua County Public School families and staff.

As we shared last week, Alachua County Public Schools has developed an Instructional Continuity Plan so that our students can continue the learning process while schools are closed due to COVID-19. The state of Florida has said that instruction must begin again after Spring Break, which means we will be gearing up again on March 30.

If you have not yet done so, please check out the Plan at https://bit.ly/39poIS6. You will find online resources for all grade levels in a variety of subjects.

You will access these materials through myPortal. If you or your child don’t know or can’t remember his or her myPortal user name and password, please follow the instructions at https://bit.ly/3bxBhvZ.

If you do not have a Family Access account, you can get one by contacting your child’s school on March 30 or by emailing familyaccessrequest@gm.sbac.edu. Please understand that we expect a high volume of calls at schools on Monday.

During the first few days of next week, teachers and other school staff will be reaching out to their families to help get everyone off to a good start and discuss specific needs related to remote learning. If you do not hear from your child’s school before April 1, we encourage you to call the school.

Obviously, this will be a very busy time for school staff, who will be working under very unusual circumstances. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we all learn how to best to keep our kids engaged and learning during this difficult time!

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