Seminole County does not issue stay-at-home order -- for now

538 people tested for coronavirus in Seminole County

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County and city leaders held a news conference Thursday to provide an update on their response to the coronavirus pandemic saying they won’t issue a mandatory stay-at-home order just yet.

[Timeline: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

The news conference included Emergency Management Chief Administrator Alan Harris and Department of Health Seminole Health Officer Donna Walsh as well as Sheriff Dennis Lemma.

Officials said a stay-at-home order was not warranted in Seminole County. City leaders instead push CDC guidelines of washing hands and practicing social distancing.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of educating the public. We don’t have some of the challenges that are brought on in metropolitan areas,” Lemma said.

According to county health officials, 37 cases of the virus have been confirmed within Seminole County.

The numbers of positive cases are rising due to an increase in testing, Seminole Health Officer Donna Walsh said.

“The best practice is to try and minimize your exposure to anyone who is not in your immediate family,” Lemma added.

While a stay-at-home order was not issued, Lemma said his department is not opposed to adding restrictions if the needs arise.

The update came as other Central Florida counties and cities continue to issue stay-at-home orders for two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus, including Orange and Osceola counties. Seminole County officials have not said if they are considering a similar mandate.

Seminole County’s first known case of the coronavirus reported on March 11 was related to a cruise and tour on the Nile River in Egypt, Florida Department of Health officials said.

Seminole County has 17 testing sites open for those showing symptoms. Walsh said there have been a total of 538 tests done and no coronavirus related deaths have been reported.

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