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East County Monday, Mar. 2, 2020 2 months ago

Manatee County mobilizes against coronavirus threat after resident tests positive

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Manatee County officials say threat remains 'low.'
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County officials say they are making preparations and coordinating with other agencies to address any potential threat of a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the area.

Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea, in an email, stated the current threat level in Manatee County is “low.”

Late Sunday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed two individuals, including one each from Manatee and Hillsborough counties, tested “presumptively positive,” for the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control today confirmed both individuals tested positive for the illness.

In a press release issued today, Congressman Vern Buchanan confirmed the case from Manatee County was being treated at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. He said during a meeting with hospital Chief Robert Meade, he was assured the hospital was taking "every precaution possible to limit exposure to others." He was told the hospital proceeded with care as if the patient had the coronavirus.

According to data released by the Florida Department of Health, there are nine coronavirus cases pending testing results in Florida. Fifteen individuals have tested negatively for the virus. Another 184 people are under public health monitoring.

Coryea, in an email, said the county’s website on COVID-19 went live last week and “our departments are in preparation mode.”

Coryea said the Florida Department of Health Manatee already has been meeting regularly with an incident management team, with another meeting planned for today. Coryea also said the county is working to ensure first responders, 911, emergency management and the 311 Manatee Citizens call center work together to established protocols.

“Presently, our communication to citizens in Manatee County is to be educated and prepared,” Coryea wrote in an email. 

Coryea said it is important to remember the public is at the height of cold and flu season and to be on the lookout for those more likely causes of illness. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, where the virus originated last year.

Health officials also say wearing masks should be limited to those with the virus, showing signs of the virus or care-taking for someone who is affected. Other public health recommendations can be found here

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