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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Gov. DeSantis announces two presumptive-positive coronavirus cases in Florida, declares public health emergency

Posted By on Sun, Mar 1, 2020 at 10:16 PM

  • Photo via Office of the Governor
A memo released by the governor's office on Sunday night announced Florida has two presumptive-positive cases of coronavirus. It included a directive declaring a public health emergency across the state.

"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," says DeSantis in the 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 will hold a press conference Monday morning at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory at 10:30, and then at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 2 p.m.

The executive order, released at 9:39 p.m., came shortly before CNN broke the news of the global coronavirus death toll topping 3,000. At that time, two U.S. deaths were among them, both in Washington state's King County.
"I direct the State Health Officer to follow the guidelines established by the CDC in establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 and educate the public on prevention," continues DeSantis in the order.

The State Health Officer will determine how long the state of emergency lasts.

The memo includes CDC recommendations for "community preparedness and everyday prevention measures," including "voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60-95 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available."

The governor's order also directs the Department of Health to make its own determinations for quarantines, isolation and "other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law."
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