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First Presumptive Positive Case of Coronavirus in Central Florida

Photo: CDC @cdc
Photo: CDC @cdc

The Florida Department of Health has announced the first presumptive case of coronavirus in Central Florida.

In a statement Saturday night the department said a 66 year old woman in Volusia County with a recent history of travel outside the US had been identified as a presumptive positive. The department said she is in isolation and will remain in isolation until cleared by public health officials.

A 61 year old woman in Okaloosa has also been identified as a presumptive positive case of coronavirus. She also had recently traveled outside the US.

Earlier in the day, Governor Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to activate to a level II to coordinate the statewide response to the virus.

The directive followed the department of health's announcement Friday night that two people who had tested positive for coronavirus had died. Both were in their 70s and had recently traveled overseas, one a man in Florida's Panhandle with underlying health issues and the other an elderly Fort Myers area individual. The deaths are the first on the East Coast attributed to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Florida legislature also voted to approve DeSantis' request for $25 million dollars to assist with the COVID-19 response.

"I urge all Floridians to take necessary precautions and follow hygiene guidelines issued by the Surgeon General and Florida Department of Health," said Gov. DeSantis in a statement.

For the latest number of cases in Florida and information about coronavirus, go to the Florida Department of Health website

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The department of health is recommending preventive actions to prevent the spread of the disease, 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;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, fever and shortness of breath, and the symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure. People who develop symptoms within 14 days of traveling to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and any other country under CDC travel advisory are being advised to contact their healthcare provider and local health department and mention recent travel or close contact.

The department of health is advising people who took a river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt in February 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the United States.

The department says several passengers in the US have been confirmed to be infected with coronavirus, including two presumptive positive cases in Florida. People who were on tours in Egypt, Israel and Jordan from February 4-18 2020 may have been exposed to the virus.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.