Coronavirus

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees this week recommended Florida nursing homes restrict visitation to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

A second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been reported in Hillsborough County, bringing the total number of cases in Florida to three.

Red and gray 3D model of COVID-19. Looks like a sphere with red trees on it.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

AARP Florida on Monday urged the state to provide “adequate supplies of protective wear” to ensure employees of nursing homes and assisted living facilities remain safe and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

One of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Tampa Bay area is a patient who has no recent history of travel. 

The man is in his 60s, and is a resident of Manatee County. His name has not been released.

After two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, governmental agencies, universities, and private companies are stepping up their response.

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Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

On the heels of a meeting with President Trump and pharmaceutical company leaders, Vice President Pence offered words of calm to the American public about the spread of coronavirus: "The risk remains low," he repeated numerous times during a news conference with reporters on Monday afternoon.

Pence, who on Friday was appointed by the president to lead the Coronavirus Task Force, delivered the remarks from the White House press briefing room, where he was surrounded by many of the nation's top health officials.

Updated Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET

After a slow initial roll-out, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States. That means a big surge in testing is coming — one that will likely cause a significant increase in identified cases of the COVID-19 illness.

Here are some things to know about the tests.

What is the current availability of coronavirus testing?

Elections can be very tactile. Touchscreen voting machines, paper ballots, large crowds.

While the coronavirus risk remains “low” for Floridians, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is currently monitoring 184 people to see if they have contracted the illness while providing details on the state’s first two confirmed positive cases.

Florida’s largest insurance company, Florida Blue, is ready to work with the Florida Department of Health in response to the coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday night a new case of COVID-19 in California that hasn’t been linked to travel abroad. That means it could be the first example of community spread of the virus.

90.7 Health Reporter Abe Aboraya spoke with Florida Blue and GuideWell CEO Pat Geraghty about COVID 19.

The coronavirus is causing local universities to bring home some of their students who were studying abroad.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Friday that 15 people in Florida have tested negative for coronavirus.

The state is monitoring another 150 people for the deadly virus, a significant drop from the 700 people who were at one time under investigation, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appeared with Rivkees at Palm Beach International Airport Friday afternoon, told reporters.

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that the federal government is prepared to assist the states if the coronavirus spreads significantly across the country — an eventuality he called unlikely.

Pence told a brief press conference in Florida that as a former Indiana governor he understands the need for state and federal partnerships in dealing with a potential health crisis. President Donald Trump appointed Pence on Wednesday to oversee the administration’s response to the coronavirus.

State Labs Now Testing For Coronavirus

Mar 2, 2020

A top Florida Department of Health official said Saturday that three laboratories in the state can now test for the novel coronavirus, the contagious disease known as COVID-19.

Deputy Secretary of Health Shamarial Roberson told The News Service of Florida that state laboratories in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa can conduct tests instead of sending samples to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs in Atlanta.

“It is good news,” Roberson said, adding, “it leads to more timely testing.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed Monday the first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Florida, in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Florida has its first two cases of COVID-19 as patients in Hillsborough and Manatee counties tested positive for the virus, officials from the Florida Department of Health announced Sunday night.

Updated at 10:21 p.m ET

As labs across the United States quickly ramp up their ability to test for the novel coronavirus, public health officials are anxiously awaiting results that could start to reveal its secret movements around the country.

New cases of the coronavirus were identified in at least four states on Sunday: New York, Rhode Island, California and Washington.

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

A person in Washington state has died of the new coronavirus, President Trump confirmed Saturday. The fatality marks the first reported death from the virus in the United States.

The patient who died was a man in his 50s with underlying medical conditions, according to Washington state health officials.

Growing Concerns Of Coronavirus Should Spur Plans – Not Panic – In The Workplace

Feb 28, 2020
Red and gray 3D model of COVID-19. Looks like a sphere with red trees on it.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Chances are, if you work for a large company, you received an email like one sent to Volkswagen employees Monday: Coronavirus concerns mean some limits on business travel, everyone should remember to “wash your hands frequently” and stay home if sick.

Governor Ron DeSantis updated media Thursday morning about Coronavirus, or Covid-19, and how Florida is monitoring the international outbreak. Right now, there are no confirmed cases in the state. Some people have been quarantined on suspicion they could be infected. Senate Democrats are calling for more transparency about who is being monitored and where.

Congressional leaders on Thursday said lawmakers are nearing a bipartisan plan to issue significant emergency funding to address rising fears sparked by the spread of coronavirus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she had spoken with Vice President Mike Pence, who was tasked to lead the administration's response to the outbreak. She added that lawmakers were nearing a plan to fund the U.S. response.

The Global Pet Expo booths
Global Pet Expo Facebook

Coronavirus is sending shockwaves throughout the global economy, amid fears of a potential pandemic if the outbreak cannot be contained. The impact of COVID-19 can be seen at the huge Global Pet Expo, which is hosted in Orlando from Wednesday to Friday.

After returning to Miami last month from a work trip in China, Osmel Martinez Azcue found himself in a frightening position: he was developing flu-like symptoms, just as coronavirus was ravaging the country he had visited.

Sarah King isn't afraid of having the flu — in fact, she considers herself an "excellent sick person."

"I have a pretty high pain tolerance," King says. "I'm not a person that whines a lot. I just kind of suck it up."

So when she heard about a medical study that pays volunteers about $3,000 to be infected with the live flu virus, King thought the offer sounded too good to pass up. Last fall, she checked in for a 10-day stay at Saint Louis University's "Hotel Influenza," a quarantine unit where researchers study how the human immune system fights the flu.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. health care system is trying to be ready for possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned communities this week to prepare for the kind of spread now being seen in Iran, Italy, South Korea and other areas outside the virus' epicenter in China.

The coronavirus outbreak could impact the state's economy - and at least one Tampa Bay area company is already seeing some effects.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The strongly worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

Victor Yu is not one of the more than 2,500 people who the Chinese government says were killed by the coronavirus. The 47-year-old resident of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, died Feb. 19 from complications related to renal carcinoma, a common type of kidney cancer. But his family believes that his untimely death is likely related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The coronavirus contagion has spread to Wall Street.

U.S. markets fell sharply Monday amid widening concern that the continuing spread of cases could lead to a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 1032 points, or 3.56% All of the major market indexes were down more than 3%.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia were also down sharply.

"This is not a health pandemic yet, but it's rapidly becoming an economic pandemic," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

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