Update from Tampa on coronavirus

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Two people have died from coronavirus in Florida and 32 people in Florida have tested positive; as of Thursday afternoon, there have been 301 negative tests and 147 test results are pending. More than a thousand Floridians have been monitored for COVID-19 so far and 476 people are currently being monitored for the disease.

The City of Tampa held a press conference Thursday morning with hospital professionals and public health leaders. Like the director of Hillsborough County’s Health Department, Dr. Douglas Holt. He did not take very many questions. But before the press conference was cut off, he responded about the availability of coronavirus test kits and about the health status of the two women who tested positive nearly two weeks ago.

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Hand sanitizer. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (March 2020).

Holt: “I think that everybody should understand they are recovering. And if there’s any change, all we’re hoping is for the best. And we will announce that when their medical condition is appropriate. But for right now they are doing well.”

Castor: “And they’re still isolated at home. So that should tell you what their condition is.”

Holt: “Sure. There are sufficient tests for the current criteria. Looking forward is how do we expand the access? That’s no question and that is a priority. Right now, anyone with those, meets those risk factors of increased risk for probability of being infected, based on travel and some other factors, we can get tested. The more the tests are coming in, the slower the response. But generally, we are seeing them, myself, within 24 hours.”

Castor: “…appreciate it.”

Listen:

That was Tampa Mayor Jane Castor ending a press conference about coronavirus Thursday morning in downtown alongside hospital administrators and the director of Hillsborough County’s Health Department, Dr. Doug Holt.

After the press conference, WMNF asked Holt how many people had been tested in Tampa and he said he didn’t know. He said part of the reason was that some testing was done by public agencies and some by private.

The health experts recommend that if you have symptoms, like a fever or dry cough, or risk factors like travel to an outbreak hotspot, call the Florida Department of Health at 1 (866) 779-6121.