Fla. Declares Public Health Emergency After Two Virus Cases

Testing Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Testing Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

A Florida resident in Washington state tested positive for novel coronavirus, the third person who lives in Florida to test positive for the highly contagious respiratory disease, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday. "But I think hopefully soon, CDC will say, 'you guys do it.' So in this way if someone tests in Florida we can say immediately it's positive instead of saying it's presumptive with confirmation awaiting". Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees says one of the patients is a female resident of Hillsborough county in her 20's who recently visited Italy, where the death toll has climbed to more than 50 people.

The Hillsborough County woman's sister has now tested positive as well.

The Florida Department of Health will continue to update details on the virus on its website.

A fourth possible case of the coronavirus linked to Florida has been reported in a resident now visiting Washington state. "She was also traveling back", said DeSantis. The area around Milan, Italy, was the site of Europe's first outbreak of the virus. He ordered health officials to declare a public health emergency due to the global spread of a new strain.

And while state officials say the overall immediate threat is low, the state remains under a public health emergency, issued by Governor Ron DeSantis. The county has been working behind the scenes with the Florida Department of Health to make sure local officials are ready to address the virus.

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The governor's spokeswoman, Helen Ferre, told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that she did not anticipate additional information on the case being released that day.

DeSantis said Tuesday that four Doctors Hospital staff members who had been in close touch with the COVID-19 patient have also been tested for the virus. "We have received legal advice in how to isolate (and) quarantine and (we) encourage individuals to take the precautions that they need".

Before addressing reporters, DeSantis said he was on a conference call with nursing-home and assisted living facility providers "issuing guidance" and advising that they "should not be having people entering those facilities who are exhibiting any types of symptoms".

COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31. The elderly and those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are most likely to develop serious illness.

"Those are still considered "presumptive positives" at this point; although I do think they're doing it right", the governor said.

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