Florida Declares Public Health Emergency After 2 Coronavirus Cases Confirmed

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
March 2, 2020COVID-19
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Florida Declares Public Health Emergency After 2 Coronavirus Cases Confirmed
Rescue workers wearing masks and protective clothing move a man during a mock drill on handling suspected carriers of coronavirus, in Peshawar, Pakistan, on March 2, 2020. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters)

Two cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were confirmed in Florida on Sunday, prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a public health emergency in the state.

The patients, who are both adults from the state’s Gulf Coast, tested “presumptively positive” for the new virus. One patient was located in Hillsborough County and another person was located in Manatee County, officials said.

For the time being, the two are being quarantined, and the Florida Department of Health is monitoring every person who came into contact with them.

“Two individuals in the state of Florida tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, including a resident of Manatee County and a resident of Hillsborough County,” said DeSantis in a memo. “I direct the State Health Officer and Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees, to declare a public health emergency in the State of Florida.”

DeSantis said he will hold a conference on Monday morning at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory at 10:30 a.m.

According to the memo, it includes guidelines for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for “community preparedness and everyday prevention measures,” the report said.

State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees noted in a statement that “this is the scenario that we prepare for every day in public health” while the “department is moving forward with the appropriate plans and we are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The first patient is an adult Manatee County resident without travel history to areas of restricted travel by the CDC, including China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran. The second patient in Hillsborough County traveled to Italy in recent days, said the Florida Department of Health.

Despite the emergency declaration, health officials said that they believe the overall virus threat to Florida remains low.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in a statement, said he will work with members of Congress to obtain funds for Florida to curb the virus spread in the state.

Healthcare workers transport a patient
Healthcare workers transport a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at Life Care Center of Kirkland in Kirkland, Washington, on Feb. 29, 2020. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

Washington state was also placed under a state of emergency over the virus, although more cases have been confirmed there. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the declaration on Saturday night after a man in his 50s with underlying health problems died of COVID-19 hours earlier.

A nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, also confirmed that it was effectively placed on lockdown late on Sunday after a staffer and a patient tested positive for the new virus. Dozens of patients there have reported COVID-19-like symptoms, said officials.

Also on Sunday, New York and Rhode Island both reported their first COVID-19 cases, respectively,

From The Epoch Times

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