Florida awaits confirmation on fourth case of coronavirus

Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday that there's been another presumptive case of the novel coronavirus reported in Florida.

This marks the fourth case in the Sunshine State for COVID-19.

The patient, currently quarantined and awaiting federal testing confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is in Santa Rosa County, in Florida's Panhandle. He is an elderly man in his 70s with severe underlying health conditions, who recently traveled internationally and could potentially become the first death from the virus in the state.

There are two other confirmed positive cases in Florida and another one awaiting confirmation, all three currently contained in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, near the Tampa area.

DeSantis also said there are five other Floridians who traveled abroad to China and have tested positive for the new coronavirus all being quarantined outside Florida. Though he would not disclose their specific locations or where they're from, he said on Wednesday that one of them is being contained in Washington state.

As of now, there are 69 patients waiting for local test results in Florida and 248 being monitored for symptoms, according to the Florida Department of Health.

So far, no cases have tested positive in Orange County, though close to 30 people are currently under observation, said FDOH officer Dr. Raul Pino, who visited the Orange County Health Department on Wednesday with the Governor.

The people most at risk are mainly elderly people and those with severe pre-existing health conditions.

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They also reported that risk of infection in the Orlando area is low for now and that there is no need to make any changes to daily routines or cancellations to local recreational plans.

The virus has shown low risk of contraction through shared surfaces, and according to the CDC and the World Health Organization, it can be best spread person-to-person through coughing, sneezing, exhaling, or exchanging fluids. It is, however constantly mutating and adapting, causing  health experts additional concern.

The people most at risk of serious complications or death under the infection of the new coronavirus are elderly people and those with severe pre-existing health conditions. There is a current directive from Florida authorities ordering that nursing homes take proper precautions.

If you have any reason to believe you may be infected, please act responsibly and contact your local health department for testing, isolation, observation and treatment, if necessary.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the flu, so it is important to pay close attention, especially if you have traveled abroad recently or within the last two to 14 days of symptoms appearing. They include fever, cough or shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

According to health officials, the best way to prevent infection is still through hand-washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after leaving crowded areas, wet areas (like bathrooms), before eating and before touching your face.

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