Gov. DeSantis announces two presumptive-positive coronavirus cases in Florida, declares public health emergency


  • Photo via Office of the Governor
A memo released by the governor's office on Sunday night announced Florida has two presumptive-positive cases of coronavirus. It included a directive declaring a public health emergency across the state.

"Two individuals in the state of Florida tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, including a resident of Manatee County and a resident of Hillsborough County," says DeSantis in the memo.

"I direct the State Health Officer and Surgeon General, Dr. Scott Rivkees, to declare a public health emergency in the State of Florida."

DeSantis will hold a press conference Monday morning at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory at 10:30, and then at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 2 p.m.

The executive order, released at 9:39 p.m., came shortly before CNN broke the news of the global coronavirus death toll topping 3,000. At that time, two U.S. deaths were among them, both in Washington state's King County.
"I direct the State Health Officer to follow the guidelines established by the CDC in establishing protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 and educate the public on prevention," continues DeSantis in the order.

The State Health Officer will determine how long the state of emergency lasts.

The memo includes CDC recommendations for "community preparedness and everyday prevention measures," including "voluntary home isolation when individuals are sick with respiratory symptoms, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and disposal of the tissue immediately thereafter, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60-95 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available."

The governor's order also directs the Department of Health to make its own determinations for quarantines, isolation and "other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Florida law."
See related PDF Executive_Order_20_51.pdf Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.