Coronavirus Cases in Florida Prompt More Travel Warnings

By Giselle Balido

March 10, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis urges all Floridians to avoid non essential travel and embarking on cruise ships. But more warnings could be coming. 

On Monday, a fourth Broward resident tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), upping the number of confirmed cases in Florida to 18, according to the latest report by the Florida Department of Health. With Florida being a popular travel destination where international visitors converge at airports and seaports, Governor Ron DeSantis urges all Floridians, especially the elderly (60 and over) and those with underlying medical conditions, to avoid long flights and large crowds, as they may be at increased risk for severe disease. This means avoiding crowded places, non essential travel, such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.

Additionally, the Florida Department of Health (FDH) is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to follow the new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines summarized below:

  • The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel (Warning Level 3) to the following destinations: China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.
  • Mandatory: Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing, which includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interaction.
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day, monitor for fever and watch for cough or trouble breathing. 
  • Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. The CDC recommends a series of strategies for employers to use now, including sick leave policies that are flexible and consistent with public health guidance; that employees are aware of these policies, as well as actively encouraging employees with any of the following symptoms to stay home: acute respiratory illness, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).  
  • During the time you are practicing social distancing: Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters), and limit your activities in public. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
  • If you have or develop symptoms, or are concerned about having COVID-19, immediately contact your county health department or health care provider. Remember to call first, so that they can take precautions to protect others.

Cruises

A cruise puts large numbers of people, often from countries around the world, in frequent and close contact with each other.This can promote the spread of respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19. For this reason, the Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who traveled on a river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt in February 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the United States. Several passengers in the United States have developed symptoms and been confirmed to be infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This includes two positive cases in Florida. 

Due to this increased risk of contamination, the CDC advises to exercise increased caution (Alert Level 2), also called “Enhanced Precaution”:

  • Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
  • If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider. Remember to call first.

Passengers who plan to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information on the current rules and restrictions, and continue to monitor the travel. State.gov website for updated information.

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CATEGORIES: Coronavirus | Florida

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