LAKE MARY, Fla. - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that two people in Florida have tested positive for coronavirus, a new virus that originated in China months ago. They also said that 184 others are being monitored for coronavirus in Florida as well.
The CDC confirmed on Monday afternoon that one person in Hillsborough County, identified as a 20-year-old woman, and one person in Manatee County, identified as a 60-year-old man, tested positive for coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. Governor DeSantis said that Florida labs presumptively confirmed the diagnosis on Sunday but the CDC in Atlanta officially confirmed it on Monday afternoon.
The two are quarantined for the time being and the Florida Department of Health is monitoring every person who has come into contact with these two patients.
The male patient is said to not have a travel history to countries where there has been a coronavirus outbreak. He sought health care after showing symptoms though. He is in stable condition and remains hospitalized. The woman patient does have a history of travel to Italy though, where an outbreak of COVID-19 was recently reported. She is in stable condition and remains isolated under medical are at home. Both patients will stay isolated until cleared by public health officials.
Officials are also in contact with all persons who may have been in close contact with either patient. They are monitoring them for any COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They say that if you have traveled to places identified by the CDC as areas of concern -- China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy, -- or made contact with someone who traveled to one of those areas, and you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate yourself for 14 days. Contact the Department of Health or your healthcare provider before going out for medical care. Symptoms may not show until two to fourteen days after contact.
Governor DeSantis declared "a public health emergency in the State of Florida," as the state works to stop the spread of coronavirus within the state. The emergency status equips the state with the necessary resources to do so. For example, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville now have testing centers for COVID-19. Tests are performed at these laboratories and results are shown in 24 to 48 hours. If the patient tests positive, then the specimens are sent to the CDC for final confirmation. Only 23 people have been tested so far, with two officially being diagnosed by the CDC. Another 184 are being monitored, bringing the total monitored so far to 795.
Governor DeSantis also said that the state is taking action to make sure that those in assisting-living facilities and nursing homes are protected. 80 percent of those who contract COVID-19 can treat it and recover at home, as it is a mild sickness. However, 15 percent may have a more severe case and need hospitalization, while another 5 percent have even more serious cases. Much of these more dangerous cases are elderly people and those who have prior complications, as Governor DeSantis said that healthy and younger people tend to recover fine. They ask that all nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the state review their visitation policies and screen any visitor who appears ill.
State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said in a statement that "this is the scenario that we prepare for every day in public health. The department is moving forward with the appropriate plans and we are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Health officials believe that the overall immediate threat to the public is low but that everyone should take proactive measures to prevent the spread of germs. They encourage that you go about your normal business but still avoid contact with individuals who are sick, stay home if you are sick, cover your cough with tissues and then dispose of the tissues, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
The full news conference held by Governor DeSantis on Monday morning can be watched below.
MOBILE USERS: Click here to watch the news conference
Senator Marco Rubio also released a statement on the coronavirus cases in Florida. He said that "the health and safety of every Floridian, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, remain my highest priority. I will continue to work with the Trump Administration and Governor DeSantis to ensure our State has the resources and information it needs."
A website has been established by the Florida Department of Health to monitor the latest coronavirus developments.
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