Gov. DeSantis says fourth Florida resident has case of Coronavirus

Updated: Mar. 4, 2020 at 3:28 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday a fourth Florida resident has a case of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to DeSantis, the resident is not currently in Florida. DeSantis says that the resident is a Floridian who recently traveled to Asia and is self-isolating in the state of Washington.

Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis’ office told ABC7 that there is a third “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus in Florida. A “presumptive positive” case means the state has tested a patient and that test has come back positive, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet to confirm the positive result.

Several media outlets are reporting the new case involves the sister of the 20-year-old woman in Hillsborough County who the CDC confirmed as one of the two cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Florida. Both sisters are said to have been traveling together in Italy. The second case involves a man from Manatee County.

In updated numbers on their website, the Florida Health Department says in addition to these three cases, 16 people have results pending, 24 have tested negative, 247 are being monitored, and five cases of Florida residents who are currently out of the state and will remain isolated until they have been cleared.

The first cases were announced late Sunday when Gov. DeSantis issued an executive order directing state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to declare a public health emergency as Florida tries to control the spread of the contagious disease.

Already the Suncoast is feeling the effects. ABC7 spoke to a woman whose daughter, a nurse, and 17-year-old grandson, a student at Sarasota Military Academy, are currently being quarantined following possible exposure at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota.

Sarasota Military Academy says once they were made aware their student was quarantined, they began to do a deep clean at the school.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our cadets and staff, and in addition to sanitizing surfaces throughout our campuses, we are reiterating to our staff and cadets the importance of washing hands, sneezing into the bend of elbows, not touching faces and of course, staying home and telling someone if they aren’t feeling well,” said Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director Christina Bowman.

Monday, Congressman Vern Buchanan met with Doctors Hospital Chief Executive Officer Robert Meade to discuss coronavirus. Meade assured Buchanan that the situation is “under control" but that a patient at the hospital is being treated for the disease. Meade says the hospital is taking every precaution to limit possible exposure to others.

The cases in Manatee and Hillsborough counties are the first in Florida, as the virus has spread to dozens of countries after starting in China. The first U.S. death from the disease was reported Saturday in Washington state.

The Manatee County case involves a man who does not have a history of traveling to countries that have been identified for restricted travel by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health said. The man, whose name and age were not released, sought health care and will remain isolated until cleared by public-health officials.

The Hillsborough County case involves a woman in her 20s with a history of traveling to Italy, which is under a travel warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of an outbreak of the respiratory illness. The Hillsborough County patient is isolated and will remain so until cleared by public-health officials, the Department of Health said.

No vaccine exists for the virus, and federal health officials say a vaccine won’t be ready for another year to 18 months.

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