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Department of Health reports 2 Coronavirus deaths in Florida

One patient was in Santa Rosa County, other patient was in Lee County

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two people have died from the Coronavirus in Florida, according to the Department of Health.

Health officials said a previously announced patient in Santa Rosa County has died.

During a news conference in Gadsden County Thursday, DeSantis said the Santa Rosa County man was in his 70s with underlying health issues who had recently traveled internationally.

FDOH also said a new patient in their 70s tested positive for Coronavirus in Lee County, this patient has died.

The patient recently went on an international trip, according to health officials.

The department of health also confirmed two other presumptive cases. One in Lee County and another in Charlotte County. According to officials, both individuals are being cared for.

A 75-year-old man in Broward County and a 65-year-old man in Broward County have tested positive for the virus. Both men will remain in isolation until they are cleared by officials, according to the department of health.

Five other Floridians are recovering out of state.

The other three cases are in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

A patient hospitalized for the virus was discharged from a Sarasota hospital Friday, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota officials said in a news release.

Hospital officials said they reduced entry points to the hospital to allow screening for all people entering the facility. While the patient was hospitalized operating rooms were close and affected employees were furloughed with full pay, according to a news release.

DeSantis also said five Florida residents who had been traveling in China have also been quarantined elsewhere after testing positive for the virus. He didn’t say where those five people live or where they are being quarantined.

According to the Florida Department of Health website, there are 51 patients awaiting test results in Florida. As of Friday, more than 260 individuals are being monitored for symptoms, either due to having close contact with someone who was diagnosed with the virus or because they’ve recently traveled to an affected area.

The virus poses a low risk of spread from one person to another through contact of a shared surface but is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or exhaling, according to the CDC and the World Health Organization.

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Symptoms of the virus include fever and signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness, including cough or shortness of breath. Signs may appear between two to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

The best way health officials say to protect against COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, after visiting public places, going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

If soap and water are not available health officials say to use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.

DeSantis spoke in Orlando Wednesday afternoon, saying that the risk for coronavirus infections remains low, even with Florida’s large tourism industry.

No one has tested positive for coronavirus in Orange County, although fewer than 30 people are under observation due to travel to affected countries, according to county health officials.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report indicated the fourth coronavirus patient in Florida was in Gadsden County. The story has been corrected to clarify the governor made his announcement in Gadsden County but the patient is in Santa Rosa County.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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