Coronavirus Alarm Grows in Florida as Cases Rise to 12

By Giselle Balido

March 9, 2020

The news from the Florida health officials came on Sunday, after nine new cases were diagnosed in the state.

As President Trump spent several hours at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach over the weekend, a 67-year-old Broward County man became the 12th case of coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosed in Florida.

The news from the Florida health officials came on Sunday, after nine new cases were diagnosed in the state, including a second case in Manatee County and the first case in Charlotte County. As of Sunday, cases of the virus had been confirmed in Manatee County (2), Charlotte County, Volusia County, Okaloosa County, Hillsborough County (2), Lee County (2), Santa Rosa County and Broward County (3), making it the county with the most cases of any in the state. 

The latest case of coronavirus in Manatee County is an 81-year-old woman who recently traveled outside the United States, according to the Florida Department of Health. In addition to the 12 cases diagnosed, another five Florida residents who contracted the virus were “repatriated” to the U.S., but at this point it’s not clear if they’re in the state. Two deaths, announced the previous Friday, have been reported: a 72-year-old Santa Rosa County man and a Lee County woman in her 70s, the first deaths attributed to the virus on the East Coast of the U.S. Currently 302 people are being monitored, with 1,104 monitored to date.

After the two deaths caused by COVID-19 were announced in Florida, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott wrote to three federal agencies and two county health departments requesting more information, including the flights the individuals were on and whether other passengers were contacted and tested, among other questions.

“With American lives at risk, we must work together quickly with all information possible to stop the spread of this disease immediately,” Scott wrote on Sunday.

In view of this rapidly developing situation, and amid the public’s growing concern, on March 7 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statement from Tallahassee, the state’s capital:

“I have directed the Division of Emergency Management to activate Level II [part of the State Emergency Operations Center activation levels] to ensure our state has all the necessary resources engaged as we respond to COVID-19. It is critical that we proactively coordinate all state resources to mitigate the threat and contain COVID-19. I urge all Floridians to take necessary precautions and follow hygiene guidelines issued by the Surgeon General and Florida Department of Health.”  

The Florida Health Department has recently announced that test kits are available for those concerned about having coronavirus or having been exposed to the virus. But there’s a protocol to follow: First, they need to consult with their health-care provider as soon as possible, who will work with the local health department. But the person must call ahead to tell them before their visit that they think they may have COVID-19, so they can take precautions to prevent exposing other people. If they don’t have a physician, they can then call the ER or Urgent Care; and if they can’t get through to either of them, they need to contact their local Health Department (which can be found via a Google search in connection with their county). Again, according to a FHD spokesperson: “Do not show up [at the doctor’s office, ER or Urgent Care]; you must call first.”

In addition, to answer your questions or concerns, the Florida Department of Health Call Center is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may call 1 (866) 779-6121, or email your questions to [email protected].


CATEGORIES: Florida | Health


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