Last Sunday, Gov Ron DeSantis announced two coronarvirus cases, in Manatee and Hillsborough counties, and moved to declare a public health emergency in Florida.
In just one week, the cases rose quickly to at least 11 — with two deaths and three new cases reported Saturday evening by the Florida Department of Health. Those three new cases are in Volusia and Okaloosa counties, as well as a new case in Manatee.
And with public health experts repeatedly saying elderly people are more inclined to be at risk, Florida’s large senior population is likely to see more cases as the virus expands its reach.
One sign: the number of people undergoing public health monitoring was 184 last Sunday, March 1. This Sunday, it is 280, according to the state health department. In all 1,038 people have been monitored to date. The monitoring includes those at risk of exposure who are being supervised by public health officials.
The coronavirus emerged in China, causing a respiratory disease that can be fatal and has expanded across the globe and in states coast to coast across the United States. In the states, the epidemic has already begun to change American lives, from airline travel to the cruise ship industry and the volatility of the stock market.
So far, Florida’s cases have been located in eight counties that have hugged both coasts: Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties in the Panhandle, down to Tampa Bay in Hillsborough, then Manatee and the southwest Gulf of Mexico counties of Charlotte and Lee, and then to the Atlantic side, with Broward and Volusia counties.
Inland Florida counties as of Sunday afternoon so far have not reported any cases.
The county locations come from Twitter feeds that the state health department has been posting when new cases are reported.
The Florida Department of Health also reported late Saturday that the three new cases are considered “presumptive positive,” meaning a test is positive for the disease but is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The department also advised Saturday evening that “all individuals who traveled on a river cruise on the Nile River in Egypt from Feb. 4-18 to self-isolate for 14 days following their return. Several passengers have recently tested positive for COVID-19, including two presumptive positive cases in Florida.”
As of 9:50 a.m. Sunday, the department provided this data on coronavirus cases, though the numbers could rise throughout the day:
/11 Florida residents;
/Five Florida cases repatriated — when the U.S. Department of State officially coordinates the return of a Florida resident to the United States;
/One non-Florida resident.
/Two Florida resident deaths
The department numbers also show 118 negative test results for the respiratory disease that can become fatal, and 108 pending results.