SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - There are now over 600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in (COVID-19) in Florida and the state has suffered its 12th death related to this pandemic.
UPDATE: Some of the information in this article may be outdated. To see the latest number of coronavirus patients, follow this link
RELATED: Governor Ron DeSantis issued executive orders Friday ending dine-in at restaurants, closing all gyms and suspending non-essential, elective medical procedures. More information here.
Locally, the health department says there are now 11 cases in Manatee County, and the cases include six men and five women. One of the cases is travel-related, two have unknown travel and eight are not travel-related.
The number of cases in Sarasota County have risen from eight to ten. One of the cases is travel-related and seven are not travel-related. Three involve non-Florida residents. Sarasota Memorial Hospital, which says it has had six coronavirus patients, three of which have been discharged, has banned visitors starting Friday.
A physician at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota is also among the ten cases reported in the county.
Officials at Doctors Hospital say the physician worked in the behavioral health unit, which is a secure unit with a limited number of patients and employees where patients have private rooms and physicians consult with them at a distance. Visitors are not permitted in the unit.
Doctors Hospital says patients and employees who had potential exposure have been notified and the Florida Health Department is following up. Doctors Hospital adds that all of their employees are screened daily for coronavirus and no employees have developed symptoms.
The physician, whose name was not released, is said to be doing well and is self-isolated at home. No further details about the case, such as when the physician tested positive and how the physician contracted coronavirus, have been released by Doctors Hospital.
Doctors Hospital was one of the first places in the state of Florida to have a positive case of coronavirus.
On Saturday, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) learned that three more patients there have tested positive for COVID-19which brings their total to five positive patients currently in that hospital. Four other patients who previously tested positive at SMH have been safely discharged.
More than half of Florida’s 67 counties are reporting cases, including: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, St. Johns, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, Volusia, and Walton.
Monroe County is reporting its first case. Broward and Miami-Dade counties have traded spots for having the most cases, with Broward reporting 128 and Miami-Dade reporting 123. Palm Beach County has the next most with 42 but is followed closely by Hillsborough County, which has 32.
- Sarasota and Manatee counties announced Thursday they will be closing their beaches. More information here.
- Mall at UTC, Sarasota Square Mall, Westfield Siesta Key and Ellenton Outlets shut down due to coronavirus. More information here.
- Area hospitals, including Sarasota and Manatee Memorial Hospitals, ban visitors. More information here.
A 12th person has died, at least the eighth this week. The deaths this week included a resident from Manatee County.
There are now 17,402 cases in the United States and 259,314 cases across the world. There have been 224 deaths in the United States and 11,286 worldwide.
In the United States, 121 people have recovered while 87,377 have recovered across the world.
To see a larger version of this map, which is best viewed on a desktop computer, follow this link.
Positive Cases of COVID-19 (as of 6pm, March 20):
- Confirmed Cases in Florida Residents: 603
- Confirmed by DOH: 301
- Tested by private labs: 302
- FL resident diagnosed & isolated out-of-state: 6
- Deaths: 12
- Cases in Non-Florida Residents: 55
- Confirmed by DOH: 28
- Tested by private labs: 27
- Total Cases Overview: 658
- Traveled: 179
- Contact with confirmed case: 115
- Travel & contact with confirmed case: 99
- Under Investigation: 265
- Number of People Tested: 7367
- Negative: 5710
- Positive: 563
- Results Pending: 1094
- Being Monitored: 1049
Monday afternoon, President Trump announced the CDC recommendation to all Americans to not gather in groups of more than 10 people, one of the steps he believes are necessary over the next 15 days to fight what he calls this “invisible enemy.”
The other recommendations are:
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 COVIDemail@example.com.
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.
Both health lines are available for residents of their respective counties to help answer any questions about the coronavirus and serve as a first stop before residents go to their doctor’s office.
“Calling the health department ahead of time allows us to coordinate with the health care system to assure appropriate infection control measures in our community,” Manatee Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Bencie said. “It also meets the guidelines laid out in Section 3 of the statewide Declaration of Public Health Emergency issued on March 1.”
Experts are available from 8am until 5pm, Monday through Friday. They’ll be able to interview callers to determine if they’re at risk for having coronavirus.
- If you’re in Manatee County, call 941-242-6649
- If you’re in Sarasota County, call 941-861-2883
The State Department of Health is also running a hotline for anyone who believes they may have coronavirus. If it’s after-hours, call 866-779-6121. That line is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.