Two Tampa Bay area residents are the first Floridians to test positive for coronavirus, according to an announcement Sunday night by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Hillsborough County Health Department said that one patient is an adult Manatee County resident without travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC. The other patient is an adult resident of Hillsborough County who traveled to Italy.
Both patients are isolated and will remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.
According to the Hillsborough County Health Department, the disease caused by coronavirus, COVID-19, “can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath.”
Governor DeSantis issued an executive order Sunday “directing a Public Health Emergency and statewide response protocol” for COVID-19.
The governor will hold a press conference in Tampa at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory.
Here’s more coronavirus information from the Hillsborough County Health Department
Date: Sun Mar 01, 2020 22:46:22
From: Hillsborough County Health Department
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ANNOUNCES TWO PRESUMPTIVE POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES IN FLORIDA
Risk to Florida Public Remains Low
The Florida Department of Health (Department) has announced there are two presumptive positive cases of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Florida.
Both individuals remain in isolation at this time. Despite these cases in Florida, the overall immediate threat to the public remains low.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “I have been working with federal partners and our Department of Health to ensure that communities are ready to handle the challenges presented by COVID-19. The dedicated professionals at our county health departments, as well as those working at local medical providers, are well equipped to address these and future cases. State Surgeon General Dr.
Scott Rivkees has taken appropriate, decisive action to help affect the best possible outcomes, and I will continue directing our state agencies to do whatever is necessary to prioritize the health and well-being of Florida residents.”
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuez said, “Florida is a national leader in public health, and that quickly became evident as soon as we received information regarding presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in our state.
Public health teams from our Department of Health have already begun engaging with the impacted individuals and are quickly working towards identifying and contacting everyone who may be potentially affected by this virus. Thanks to the extensive preparations and tireless work the Department’s staff has been undertaking since information regarding COVID-19 became available in early January, our county health departments, medical providers and all other partners in public health are well prepared to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said, “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 (CDC) and local medical providers to ensure these individuals receive the proper treatment and that anyone who has come into contact with them is following the necessary protocols, limiting or stopping any further spread. Thanks to Florida’s integrated public health system, we have been able to proactively engage and plan with our public health partners at every level, enabling us to take these important steps in a very expeditious manner. Our epidemiological teams are among the best in the nation, and they are right now aggressively pursuing every potential lead during these critical early moments of this outbreak in Florida.”
The first patient is an adult Manatee county resident without travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC. This person did seek health care, is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The Florida Department of Health is working closely with the patient, their close contacts and health care providers to isolate and monitor persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and implement testing of anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
The second patient is an adult resident of Hillsborough county with a history of travel to Italy. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from the COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the Department always recommends everyday preventive actions to help impede the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
-Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
-Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
-Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
-Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
-Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider and local county health department (CHD) and mention their recent travel or close contact.
If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, they should call ahead to a health care professional and the county health department. The health care professional will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.
Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19. This remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121 or emailing [email protected]. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.
In addition, please visit
http://www.floridahealth.gov/all-county-locations.html to locate and obtain contact information for your local CHD.
The CDC also has a website with information related to COVID-19:
Here’s the coronavirus executive order from the Florida governor:
STATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-51
(Establishes COVID-19 Response Protocol and Directs Public Health Emergency)
WHEREAS, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission and presents with symptoms similar to those of influenza; and
WHEREAS, in late 2019, a new and significant outbreak of COVID-19 emerged in China; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern; and
WHEREAS, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has deemed it necessary to prohibit or restrict non-essential travel to or from those countries; and
WHEREAS, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Japan, the CDC has advised older travelers and those with chronic medical conditions to avoid nonessential travel and all travelers to exercise enhanced precautions; and
WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends community preparedness and everyday prevention measures be taken by all individuals and families in the United States, including voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60%-95% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available and routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects to increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak; and
WHEREAS, two individuals in the State of Florida tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, including a resident of Manatee County and a resident of Hillsborough County; and
WHEREAS, the CDC currently recommends mitigation measures in communities with COVID-19 cases, including staying at home when sick, keeping away from others who are sick and staying at home when a household member is sick with respiratory disease symptoms or if instructed to do so by public health officials or a health care provider; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate to take action to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Florida remain safe and secure;
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, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:
Section 1. Because of the foregoing conditions, I direct the State Health Officer and Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees, to declare a public health emergency in the State of Florida, pursuant to his authority in section 381.00315, Florida Statutes. The State Health Officer is authorized and directed to use his judgment as to the duration of this public health emergency.
Section 2. In accordance with section 381.0011(7), Florida Statutes, I direct the State Health Officer to take any action necessary to protect the public health.
Section 3. I direct the State Health Officer to follow the guidelines established by the CDC in establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 and educate the public on prevention.
Section 4. In accordance with section 381.0011(7), Florida Statutes, I designate the Florida Department of Health as the lead state agency to coordinate emergency response activities among the various state agencies and local governments. The State Health Officer, or his designee, shall advise the Executive Office of the Governor on the implementation of these emergency response activities.
Section 5. All actions taken by the State Health Officer with respect to this emergency before the issuance of this Executive Order are ratified.
Section 6. The Florida Department of Health will actively monitor, at a minimum, all persons meeting the definition of a Person Under Investigation (“PUI”) as defined by the CDC for COVID-19 for a period of at least 14 days or until the PUI tests negative for COVID-19. Active monitoring by the Florida Department of Health will include at least the following:
- Risk assessment within 24 hours of learning an individual meets the criteria for a PUI.
- Twice-daily temperature checks.
Section 7. The Florida Department of Health, pursuant to its authority in section 381.00315, Florida Statutes, will ensure that all individuals meeting the CDC’s definition of a PUI are isolated or quarantined for a period of 14 days or until the person tests negative for COVID-19.
Section 8. I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to make its own determinations as to quarantine, isolation and other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law.
Section 9. I direct all agencies under the direction of the Governor to fully cooperate with the Florida Department of Health, and any representative thereof in furtherance of this Order. Agencies not under the direction of the Governor are requested to provide such assistance as is required.