Coronavirus is Closer Than You Think

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(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Director Stephen White, giving Ron DeSantis a tour of the Florida's Bureau of Public Health Laboratories on March 2nd.

Alexis Incandela, Reporter

Over the course of the week, three cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the Florida counties of Manatee and Hillsborough. As of now, over 247 people with the symptoms in Florida are being closely monitored, but officials expect the number of cases to grow as more people get tested.  

The first patient is a 60-year-old man in Manatee County who was admitted to a hospital after presenting symptoms of pneumonia. Officials are not sure how he got the disease. The second patient is a 20-year-old female in Hillsborough County. She is isolated and receiving treatment from her home following a trip to Northern Italy, where the virus is present. A close friend of the woman also contracted the virus after traveling.

The Florida Department of Health has said they can get results of tests for the virus within 24 hours from three of its labs in Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Officials are urging those who have come in contact with anyone they think might have the virus, or if they show any symptoms to seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms typically include fever, shortness of breath, and sore throat.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that schools and workplaces relax rules and allow students and workers to leave freely if they show signs of a fever. Over 100 cases have been confirmed in the U.S and more than 93,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed. As of now, the best way to protect yourself from the virus is by constantly washing your hands and avoid touching your face. “We think it’s prudent to be working to get ahead of this; at the same time it’s important to say the risk to the public remains low,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.