Two Bay Area residents, one from Manatee and another from Hillsborough, have tested positive for coronavirus infection.
The report from Florida Department of Health prompted Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a public health emergency last Sunday evening (March 01, 2020). The governor also assured the public that state agencies will give priority to the well-being and health of Florida residents.
“The local medical providers as well as the dedicated medical professionals in county health departments, are well equipped to handle the 2 confirmed cases and future cases as well.”
Under a state of public health emergency, funding will be immediately released to local governments. That way, they will be able to tackle coronavirus cases, even at a presumptive stage.
Governor DeSantis also expressed confidence that State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees has been taking appropriate and decisive actions to help attain the best possible medical outcomes.
Dr. Rivkees assured the public that Florida’s epidemiological teams are among the best in the country. He reported they are currently pursuing every potential lead with aggressiveness, knowing that the early moments of the outbreak in are critical.
Actually, a day before the report of the two confirmed Covid-19 cases came out, the Florida Department of Health announced that three of the state’s laboratories now have the capability to test patients for coronavirus infection. Shamarial Roberson, the Deputy Secretary of Health shared the good news with the News Service of Florida, since it means testing will be more timely.
Three Florida Testing Labs Speed Up Testing of Patients for Covid-19
Immediate testing is being conducted in state laboratories located in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville; instead of consuming time sending samples to the labs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
At the time of the lab announcement, State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, being secretary of the Department of Health, had reported that the department was in the process of monitoring 150 patients to see if they tested positive for COVID-19 infection.
According to Dr. Rivkees, 15 people tested as negative, while four people were still under examination and investigation. Presumably, the two Bay Area patients reported as presumptively positive, came from that batch.
Known Details about the Two Confirmed Cases in Florida
The two patients are now under isolation, while health care providers are working closely with them to determine with whom the patients have had close contacts. That way, health care professionals will be able to isolate and monitor other Floridians who may have been exposed to the virus.
The first patient to have tested positive is an adult from Manatee County who has no history of having traveled in a restricted country. The second patient is also an adult from Hillsborough County; but who, upon further investigation, revealed having recently traveled to Italy.
The country has recently accounted for the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in Europe, which to date has reached 1,700; including 34 who had succumbed to the disease.
The DOH has not provided information about the age, specific location and conditions of the two patients but is assuring the public that they have been isolated in order to keep low, the current overall immediate threat to the public.