More positive cases of coronavirus announced, bringing Florida's total to 149, health officials say

More positive cases of coronavirus in Florida have been announced by the Florida Department of Health.

As of Sunday night, the Florida Department of Health says that there are now 149 cases of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, including several in Central Florida. 13 of the cases are non-Florida residents isolated in the state. There are another six Florida residents with coronavirus but they were tested and isolated in another state. All patients are said to be isolated and will remain so until cleared by public health officials. 442 others are being monitored for the virus.

So far, health officials say that four people have died of the coronavirus, the most recent being a 77-year-old from Lee County. The case was not travel-related.

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The CDC on Sunday evening recommended that groups of 50 or more don't get together. Governors across the nation have ordered closings of restaurants, bars, and schools as the nation sank deeper into chaos over the crisis. Some experts even say that a 14-day national shutdown may be needed.

Meanwhile, experts called for the nation to act with more urgency to safeguard their health, President Donald Trump on Sunday evening called on Americans to cease hoarding groceries and other supplies. He assured Americans that after speaking with leading grocery chain executives, that grocery stores would remain open and that the supply chain remained healthy. Vice President Mike Pence added to this, stating that you only need to buy groceries for the week ahead.

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A clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine is set to begin on Monday, a government official says. The first participant will receive the experimental vaccine but health officials say it will take 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine. 44 other young, healthy volunteers will receive the vaccine with different doses.

Then, in a sign of the impending economic gloom on the horizon, the Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero. President Donald Trump sought to calm a jittery nation by declaring that the government has "tremendous control" over the situation.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she and the Trump administration are close to agreement on a coronavirus aid package to reassure anxious Americans by providing sick pay, free testing and other resources, hoping to calm teetering financial markets amid the mounting crisis.

The potential deal between Congress and the White House would cap a tumultuous week in which Washington strained for a comprehensive response to the outbreak that is testing the nation’s political, financial and health care systems.

It builds on an emergency $8.3 billion package approved last week and is aimed at providing additional health and financial resources to arrest the sudden spread of the pandemic and the kind of economic fallout unseen in a generation. Pelosi promised in a letter to colleagues that a third package was yet to come.

The new sick leave benefit would require businesses to provide up to 14 days of paid leave to workers who are home quarantined with the virus, with the federal government reimbursing them through tax credits. The bill enhances unemployment benefits for the jobless and boosts food and nutrition programs for working families, students and seniors.

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On Saturday afternoon, the White House broaden its European travel ban, adding the United Kingdom and Ireland to its list. Under the restrictions, American citizens, green card holders and others are still allowed to return home to the U.S., but will be funneled to 13 airports and be subjected to health screenings and quarantine orders, according to two people familiar with the plan who spoke on Saturday. The ban goes into effect on Monday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State is advising all U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to COVID-19, especially as other areas of the world experience outbreaks and enact border restrictions. The Florida Department of Health advises that all individuals who traveled internationally follow the CDC guidelines, summarized by the department below:

  • "Level 3 Travel Advisory: CDC recommends 14-day self-isolation and social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your County Health Department or health care provider. 
  • Level 2 Travel Advisory and Cruises: Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and they should call ahead to a health care professional or their county health department before seeking treatment.  According to CDC, a cruise ship is defined as a passenger vessel involving the movement of large numbers of people in closed and semi-closed settings."
  • According to CDC, a cruise ship is defined as a passenger vessel involving the movement of large numbers of people in closed and semi-closed settings."

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Coronavirus can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces. Others can then contract the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then their eyes, nose, or mouth. 

As stated before, symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They may show in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure, the Florida Department of Health says. Most people recover from COVID-19 without special treatment but the elderly and those with underlying medical problems are more likely to develop serious illness. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus, so avoiding exposure is crucial. The department advises the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

The CDC said that they do not recommend that healthy people wear facemasks. They should only be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people taking care of someone in close settings.

If you display coronavirus symptoms, you should contact a local health organization and make them aware of your condition prior to arrival while also following specific instructions or guidelines they may have. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and let them know if you have been infected or believe that you may be.

If you are infected, a medical professional or another authority will likely advise that you remain isolated while sick. This includes staying at home and not going into public places or large events.

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Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to

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