Sources: Small number of people in Jacksonville being monitored for coronavirus

But Health Department says there are no suspected cases or people being monitored

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s conflicting information about coronavirus in Jacksonville.

The local Health Department said Monday there are no suspected cases or people being monitored for COVID-19, but some city sources told News4Jax there could be a small number of people under observation.

New information about local efforts to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak also came out during a Jacksonville City Council meeting Monday where the city spoke about how it responded over the weekend to a coronavirus scare at the Jacksonville cruise ship terminal.

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During a City Council neighborhood’s committee meeting, Brian Huges of the mayor’s office said that after passengers had disembarked and a crew member became sick enough to go to the hospital.

“The crew member was transported by JFRD Saturday afternoon and taken to UF Health. Because of that person’s Asian nationality and recent travel through Asia, that person was taken to UF Health and put in an isolation component that they have for coronavirus,” Hughes said.

It was just two days before that happened that the Emergency Operations Center came up with a plan on how they would deal with coronavirus cases.

“We were all trying to coordinate or to understand from CDC or the Department of Health of what to do as it related to this particular patient. What we learned is because the tests are still at state testing facilities and that the Department of Health had to authorize the test, they chose not to,” Hughes said.

The patient was not tested and it was determined to be another illness.

At the meeting on Monday, Communication Director for Florida Department of Health in Duval County Samantha Epstein said there were no local cases, but later in the day other sources said it is monitoring a ‘single-digit number of cases.’

No one who spoke to News4Jax would go on record.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis disclosed late Sunday that two people had become the first in his state to test “presumptively positive” for COVID-19 and ordered his top health officer to declare a statewide public health emergency.

On Monday afternoon, the cases were officially confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Florida Department of Health website.

COVID-19, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected tens of thousands since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. For more information on coronavirus, visit our special section.

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