MANATEE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has announced that a Manatee County resident is one of the first two people in Florida to presumptively test positive for the coronavirus.
“The Florida Department of Health had 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,” according to the FDOH’s two-page written announcement.
“The first patient is an adult Manatee County resident without travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This person did seek health care, is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials,” the FDOH announcement said.
“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 symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath,” the announcement said.
“The second patient is an adult resident of Hillsborough County with a history of travel to Italy. This person is isolated and will continue. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus,” according to the announcement.
The health department recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when you are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, washing your hands often and cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
When addressing the media on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed the two cases reported in Florida. He reiterated the FDOH statement about the threat currently being low to others, but he acknowledged additional cases are expected.
Hospital issues statement
On March 1, The Doctors Hospital of Sarasota issued a written statement that said, “Doctors Hospital of Sarasota has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that we have a patient in our facility who presumptively tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was admitted to our facility in late February and remains in our care.
“On Friday, Feb. 28, the CDC changed its guidance regarding COVID-19, specifically the criteria for persons under investigation, which consequently led the patient to be tested. Upon recognizing that the patient was a potential COVID-19 case, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota immediately and appropriately activated all protocols for handling potential COVID-19 cases, including immediate isolation.
“All potentially exposed employees and providers have been identified and the hospital is communicating with them to answer questions and provide additional information. We are working very closely with the local and state departments of health as well as the CDC to assure that we continue to take all appropriate precaution,” according to the Doctors Hospital statement.