DeSantis on coronavirus: immediate threat low

by | Mar 2, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Tampa on Monday to update the public on the recent ‘presumptively positive’ cases that prompted the governor to issue a public health emergency on Sunday.

According to the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the governor signed the order last night after two adults — one located in Hillsborough County and the other in Manatee County — tested “presumptive positive” for the epidemic.

DeSantis appeared alongside Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Núñez, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Shamarial Roberson, Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and elected officials from the Tampa area to discuss the two individuals who tested positive for the virus.

“As you know, last night the Department of Health announced there are two ‘presumptive positive’ cases of coronavirus disease in the state of Florida,” DeSantis began the press conference. “The first patient is an adult resident in Manatee County without travel history to China or other countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC. The second patient is an adult resident in Hillsborough County with a recent history of travel to the affected areas in Italy.”

According to the DOH, the Manatee County patient did not travel to any restricted country identified by the Centers of Disease Control. The person, who has not been named, has sought medical care and is being treated.

The second patient, a person from of Hillsborough County, has a history of travel to Italy — an area with a high concentration of outbreaks. They are also being treated in an isolated setting.

DeSantis also discussed the number of Floridians being tested for COVID-19. To date, 23 people have been tested in the state of Florida, with 184 being currently monitored. In all, 795 have been monitored.

Despite the rare cases in the Sunshine State, DeSantis stated that the overall immediate threat to Floridians remains low, but noted that they do anticipate more people will test positive.

“Despite these cases, the overall immediate threat to the public remains low,” DeSantis continued. “With that said, we do anticipate that more will test positive, and we’ve taken additional actions to contain the virus’s spread.”

Rivkees also discussed the cases, releasing more info on the patients.

“The first individual is a male in his 60’s from Manatee County who was hospitalized for valuation and treatment for pneumonia,” Rivkees said. “At the present time, it is not known how this individual was exposed to COVID-19.”

“The second patient is a woman in her 20’s from Hillsborough County who recently returned from Northern Italy,” he continued.

Rivkees assured that both individuals are stable and remain in continued isolation, and the DOH is working with each person who came in contact with the respiratory virus.

Rivkees went on to discuss details surrounding the virus, stating that it is transmitted like the flu through coughing and sneezing, and in 80 percent of cases, patients will have mild symptoms that can be treated at home.

“In the elderly, and those individuals with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, obesity, and diabetes may be more prone to developing serious complications should they contract COVID-19,” said Rivkees, noting that there is no vaccine to treat the coronavirus.

Testing for the virus in currently ongoing in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.



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