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The Florida Department of Health late Tuesday announced eight new positive cases of the novel coronavirus, with seven of the cases described as “travel-related” and involving Florida residents.
Three of the new cases involved residents of Collier County, according to the health department. The eighth case involves a Georgia resident who is in Florida, with the Georgia Department of Public Health leading the epidemiological investigation into the person.
In all, 21 Florida residents have been diagnosed in Florida with the respiratory disease known as COVID-19, a Department of Health news release said. Two have died.
The virus, which started in China late last year and has spread around the world, is particularly dangerous to seniors and people with underlying health conditions. Of the 21 Floridians diagnosed in the state, for example, 18 are at least 60 years.
Meanwhile, seven of the new eight cases involve people who range in age between 64 and 73. One person who tested positive is a 46-year old male.
According to the Department of Health, the eight new cases are a 46-year old male in Pasco County; a 73-year old male in Collier County; a 68-year old female in Collier County; a 64-year old female in Collier County; a 67-year old male in Pinellas County; a 64-year old male in Pinellas County; a 68-year-old male in Nassau County. and a 68-year old female Georgia resident who is in Alachua County.
All eight are isolated and will remain in isolation until cleared by public-health officials.
The announcement of the new cases came a day after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency that broadened his powers to respond to COVID-19. Also, the Department of Health said three coronavirus cases have been associated with Port Everglades in Broward County, with all of the cases linked to Metro Cruise Services, a company that operates at the port.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. But there are precautions that people can take, including washing hands with soap and water.
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when people cough or sneeze. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
During a news conference Monday to announce the declaration of the state of emergency, DeSantis encouraged people to take precautions.
“If you’re elderly or you have a serious, underlying medical condition, don’t get on a cruise ship right now. Don’t get on a long flight where you could be exposed to the virus. Take certain steps to do what they call social distancing,” DeSantis said.
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