Health officials announce 8 new cases of coronavirus in Florida, including 2 in Pinellas

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Collier, Pinellas, Nassau, Pasco and Alachua counties have new confirmed cases.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday eight new positive cases of the novel coronavirus disease in the state, increasing the number of known in-state cases to 23.

The notice of the coronavirus spike came late Tuesday.

The announcement of the new cases came a day after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency that broadened his powers to respond to COVID-19. Also, the Department of Health said three coronavirus cases have been associated with Port Everglades in Broward County, with all of the cases linked to Metro Cruise Services, a company that operates at the port.

The new cases include two females and a male in Collier County who traveled outside of the state. Two males in Pinellas County have also been identified who traveled outside of the state.

One man each in Nassau and Pasco Counties also identified positive in travel-related cases.

A female Georgia resident currently in Alachua County was also identified as positive. The Georgia Department of Public Health is leading the epidemiological investigation for this individual.

The new cases are all isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.

In all, 21 Florida residents have been diagnosed in Florida with the respiratory disease known as COVID-19, a Department of Health news release said. Two have died.

The virus, which started in China late last year and has spread around the world, is particularly dangerous to seniors and people with underlying health conditions. Of the 21 Floridians diagnosed in the state, for example, 18 are at least 60 years.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday significantly expanded guidance on selecting patients who should be tested for the novel coronavirus. They said providers should now have any patient who presents with severe pneumonia symptoms tested regardless of travel history.

The CDC recommends people who have traveled to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan or any other destination under the CDC travel advisory that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel to call ahead to their health care provider and local county health department and mention their recent travel or close contact.

If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, they should call ahead to a health care professional and the county health department. The health care provider will work with the department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when people cough or sneeze. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

During a news conference Monday to announce the declaration of the state of emergency, DeSantis encouraged people to take precautions.

“If you’re elderly or you have a serious, underlying medical condition, don’t get on a cruise ship right now. Don’t get on a long flight where you could be exposed to the virus. Take certain steps to do what they call social distancing,” DeSantis said.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Staff Reports


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