Monday marks 1 year since COVID-19 was first detected in Florida

Monday, March 1st, marks one year since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Florida. 

Since then, there have been 1,909,221 total infections statewide and 31,406 deaths.

The first Florida case was a Manatee County resident who sought healthcare after showing symptoms but did not travel. The second patient was a Hillsborough County resident who had recently traveled to Italy, where the coronavirus was spreading rapidly.

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Orange County leaders met that same day to discuss the possible threat of the virus to Florida's largest tourism district. At the time, the concern centered mostly around international travel to countries on the CDC's travel advisory.

"We believe it’s a matter of time before we have a case right here in our back yard," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.

Florida's Surgeon General Scott Rivkees warned people that COVID-19 was spread through respiratory transmission. He encouraged people to cover their coughs and wash their hands frequently.

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Governor Ron DeSantis issued a statement saying that "the dedicated professionals at our county health departments, as well as those working at local medical providers, are well equipped to address these and future cases."

Cases in more recent days are following a downward trend and three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted emergency use authorization. In Florida, residents 65 and older and those under 65 who are deemed "extremely vulnerable" by their doctors can be vaccinated.


Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.