16 new cases in Florida with 2 in Sarasota County, including patient at SMH

16 new cases in Florida with 2 in Sarasota County, including patient at SMH

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Officials at Sarasota Memorial Hospital announced late Thursday night that a patient in their care has tested presumptively positive for coronavirus, one of two new cases in Sarasota County reported by the Florida Health Department.

A presumptive positive case is when a state health lab has a positive test without CDC confirmation.

Gov. DeSantis delivers latest info on coronavirus pandemic in Florida

The 70-year-old man from Massachusetts was admitted to the hospital on March 10 and officials say he was placed in isolation under the care of staff who’s been trained in appropriate infection prevent and control measures.

Hospital leaders are working with the Florida Health Department to isolate and monitor any healthcare provide and close contacts of the patient who were potentially exposed, as well as to implement testing for anyone who develops coronavirus symptoms.

State health officials are still investigating how the man contracted coronavirus and will identify anyone in the community who may have been exposed.

“Our team has been preparing for this eventuality for more than a month, and we have trained teams equipped with the resources needed to help keep our community safe,” SMH CEO David Verinder said. “As more people are diagnosed in our nation, it is important to remember that we are talking about more than numbers. These are people we care for, and care about, and we all need to do our part to protect those most vulnerable in our community.”

Officials at SMH say patients with severe respiratory illness are hospitalized in isolation rooms and treated by staff trained to care for patients at risk for coronavirus. The hospital keeps logs on everyone entering these rooms to identify anyone who came in contact with the patient should a test later show they have coronavirus.

The hospital says it has been restricting visitors to patients in isolation, instead encouraging video calls.

SMH says all of its facilities are operating with extra staff and infection control measures in place. All surface areas of the hospital and outpatient sites are being continually and thoroughly cleaned and high high-risk areas are being treated by ultraviolet disinfection robots.

The hospital is also instituting a change to its visitor policy. Effective Friday at 6pm, no more than two visitors will be allowed per room and no visitors under the age of 13 will be allowed. Anyone with a cough or fever will not be allowed to visit a patient. For patients in isolation, all visitors are restricted and asked to utilize video calling apps.

Late Thursday night, the Florida Health Department announced 16 new positive coronavirus case, including cases in Palm Beach, Sarasota, Alachua, Volusia, Duval, Clay, Broward, Hillsborough, Lee and Miami-Dade counties.

There are two new cases in Sarasota County, the other involving a 50-year-old man from New York.

Many of the new cases remain under investigation to determine how the patients contracted coronavirus, but a few have known origins, such as the Nile River cruise in Egypt, Port Everglades in Broward County, and international travel.

The Health Department says an earlier advisory about a possible case being connected to Daytona Bike Week 2020 was unnecessary. Further investigation showed the man, who had traveled from New York to Daytona, was isolated prior to attending the event.

However, there remains an advisory about a possible case associated with an EMS Conference in Tampa held from March 4 through March 6. The Health Department is recommending any person who attended the event and experiences possible coronavirus symptoms to contact their health care provider or county health department and self-isolate for 14 days.

Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended that local authorities consider canceling mass gatherings, defined by the CDC as 1,000 people or more. Sarasota County did, canceling all county- or privately-operated events with an expected attendance of more than 250 people for the next 30 days and the City of Venice canceled all special events permits through May 1.

Coronavirus Update in Florida

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Ron DeSantis Holds Press Conference Regarding COVID-19. Follow the latest here: www.mysuncoast.com/coronavirus

Posted by ABC7 Sarasota - WWSB on Thursday, March 12, 2020

At least four cases have been connected to Port Everglades and were associated with or employed by Metro Cruise Services, a company that greets cruise ship passengers. The Health Department is recommending any person who experiences possible coronavirus symptoms who traveled through Port Everglades to contact their health care provider or county health department and self-isolate for 14 days.

The Health Department is also advising Metro Cruise Services employees with any association to these cases to self-isolate at home and working with all employees who may have had contact to provide appropriate guidance and monitoring. The CDC also recommends that anyone with recent travel history on a cruise to monitor their health for 14 days and, if they develop symptoms, to immediately self-isolate and contact their health care provider or county health department.

A full list of cases involving Florida residents as of 11pm Thursday is below:

  1. Manatee, 63, Male, No Known History of International Travel
  2. Hillsborough, 29, Female, Known History of International Travel
  3. Santa Rosa, 71, Male, Known History of International Travel
  4. Broward, 75, Male, No Known History of International Travel
  5. Broward, 65, Male, No Known History of International Travel
  6. Lee, 77, Female, Known History of International Travel
  7. Lee, 77, Male, Known History of International Travel
  8. Charlotte, 54, Female, Known History of International Travel
  9. Okaloosa, 61, Female, Known History of International Travel
  10. Volusia, 66, Female, Known History of International Travel
  11. Manatee, 81, Female, Known History of International Travel
  12. Broward, 67, Male, No Known History of International Travel
  13. Volusia, 60, Female, Known History of International Travel
  14. Broward, 69, Female, No Known History of International Travel
  15. Nassau, 68, Male, Known History of International Travel
  16. Collier, 73, Male, Known History of International Travel
  17. Collier, 68, Female, Known History of International Travel
  18. Collier, 64, Female, Known History of International Travel
  19. Pinellas, 67, Male, Known History of International Travel
  20. Pinellas, 64, Male, Known History of International Travel
  21. Pasco, 46, Male, Known History of International Travel
  22. Miami-Dade, 56, Male, Known History of International Travel
  23. Broward, 70, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  24. Lee, 57, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  25. Broward, 65, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  26. Broward, 61, Male, Known History of International Travel
  27. Seminole, 68, Male, Known History of International Travel
  28. Palm Beach, 73, Male, Known History of International Travel
  29. Palm Beach, 74, Male, Known History of International Travel
  30. Sarasota, 50, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  31. Sarasota, 70, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  32. Alachua, 24, Female, Known History of International Travel
  33. Volusia, 70, Male, Known History of International Travel
  34. Duval, 83, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  35. Clay, 57, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  36. Broward, 28, Female, Travel History Under Investigation
  37. Broward, 25, Female, Travel History Under Investigation
  38. Broward, 68, Female, Travel History Under Investigation
  39. Broward, 36, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  40. Hillsborough, 49, Female, Travel History Under Investigation
  41. Lee, 77, Male, Travel History Under Investigation
  42. Miami-Dade, 42, Male, Known History of International Travel

The latest numbers (as of 2pm March 13) are below:

Positive Cases of COVID-19

45 – Florida Residents

5 – Florida Cases Repatriated*

6 – Non-Florida Residents

Deaths

2 – Florida Residents

Number of Negative Test Results

478

Number of Pending Test Results

221

Number of People Under Public Health Monitoring

365 – currently being monitored

1413 – people monitored to date

People Under Public Health Monitoring: The number of people under public health monitoring includes those at risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 who are monitoring their health under the supervision of public health officials.

*Florida Cases Repatriated: The United States Department of State officially coordinated the return of a person living in Florida to the United States and those persons are isolated at a federally designated site until healthy. A repatriated case is when the United States Department of State officially coordinates the return of a Florida resident to the United States.

Presumptive Positive: A Presumptive Positive is when a state health lab has a positive test without CDC confirmation.

Confirmed: A Confirmed status is given when the Presumptive Positive sample is then confirmed by the CDC.

Below is additional information from the health department:

International Travel

U.S. Department of State – Global Level 3 Health Advisory

The U.S. Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.

CDC Guidelines

The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to follow CDC guidelines, summarized below:

  • Level 3 Travel Advisory: CDC recommends 14-day self-isolation and social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your County Health Department or health care provider.
  • Level 2 Travel Advisory and Cruises: Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and they should call ahead to a health care professional or their county health department before seeking treatment.
  • According to CDC, a cruise ship is defined as a passenger vessel involving the movement of large numbers of people in closed and semi-closed settings.
  • For more information regarding current CDC travel advisories related to COVID-19, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider or local County Health Department (CHD) and mention their recent travel or close contact, unless they are experiencing an emergency.

If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from areas 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 professional will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.

Nile Cruise Advisory

The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who traveled to Egypt for a cruise or tour on the Nile River in February or March 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the United States, and if ill, immediately contact their CHD or health care provider. Several passengers in the United States recently developed symptoms and have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, including 11 positive cases in Florida.

Port Everglades Advisory

The Department, through an extensive epidemiological investigation, has identified four positive COVID-19 cases associated with Port Everglades in Broward County, Florida. All three cases are connected to or employed by Metro Cruise Services – a company that operates at Port Everglades.

  • The Department recommends all individuals experiencing symptoms who have recently traveled through Port Everglades to immediately contact their CHD or health care provider and self-isolate for 14 Days.
  • The Department also recommends employees of Metro Cruise Services at Port Everglades with any association to these cases self-isolate at home.
  • The Department is working to connect with all employees at Metro Cruise Services who may have come into contact with the three individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to provide the employees with the appropriate guidance and monitoring.
  • The Department is working in close consultation with the CDC on this investigation.
  • CDC recommends that individuals with recent travel history on a cruise monitor their health for 14 days and, if they develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their CHD or health care provider.

COVID-19 Public Website and Call Center

Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

What You Should Know

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider and local CHD 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 CHD. The health care provider will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WWSB. All rights reserved.