The onset of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has many asking questions about how to avoid the virus and what steps are being taken by authorities to prevent its spread.
Last night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed two “presumptive positive” cases in Florida. One adult in Hillsborough County and one adult in Manatee County. The Hillsborough patient had recent travel to Italy, while the Manatee patient has no proof of travel to any affected areas.
UPDATE 3/2 2:00PM: The CDC has confirmed the positive tests of both Florida patients.
Governor DeSantis has declared a public health emergency for Florida, which similar to a state of emergency during a hurricane, allows for Florida to receive federal assistance.
Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis met with Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the national Coronavirus response, and requested Florida testing for the virus. On Friday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health announced that Miami-Dade, has been approved as a local testing center, which will reduce the wait time for test results from 3-5 days to 24-48 hours. Tampa and Jacksonville have also been approved testing centers.
A presumptive positive test result comes from a local test conducted by one of these centers, while awaiting confirmation from the CDC.
Florida has now tested 25 patients for COVID-19, 2 have tested positive, 15 have tested negative and 8 are still pending results. The state is also public health monitoring 184 patients. “The number of people under public health monitoring includes those at risk of having been exposed to novel coronavirus who are monitoring their health under the supervision of public health officials. This number also includes close contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases, as well as people who have returned from China in the past 14 days,” according to the Florida Department of Health.
Coral Gables Fire Chief, Marcos De La Rosa, who heads the City’s emergency management efforts, shared the following with Gables Insider regarding the City’s preparations: “The City of Coral Gables Fire Department’s Division of Emergency Management is actively monitoring the development of the current respiratory virus known as Coronavirus (COVID-19). There are no known cases of the virus in the City of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, or the State of Florida. All measures up to this point are precautionary and educational in nature. Emergency Management has been working in conjunction with the CDC, Miami Dade County Health Department’s Epidemiologist and Miami Dade County Office of Emergency Management, as well as the Fire Department’s Medical Director; Dr. Frederik Keroff to ensure the City is prepared to provide the public protective actions to address a potential emerging threat from the COVID19 virus. In a similar fashion to preparing for the threat of a hurricane, all City Departments are actively involved in ensuring the City’s preparedness and response readiness. A point that I must stress is the importance of making sure we are all relying on accurate and validated information, avoiding rumors or inaccurate information. Validated directives and guidance may be found at: www.cdc.gov/COVID19 or www.coralgables.com.”
PREVENTING THE SPREAD
When it comes to preventing the spread of the virus, the Florida Department of Health’s website recommends, “Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.”
Authorities are also recommending that travel be avoided to “affected geographic areas with widespread or sustained community transmission,” which include China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
- City of Coral Gables Coronavirus Information See PDF Document
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools Parent Guide See PDF Document
- CDC Share The Facts, Stop The Fear See PDF Document
- CDC Coronavirus Factsheet See PDF Document
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019
- CDC Symptoms
- CDC Situation Summary