3rd coronavirus case triggers advisory for Florida port

Metro Cruise Services employees make up three-quarters of Broward County’s positive tests

File photo (CDC via AP, File)
File photo (CDC via AP, File)

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – With three coronavirus cases linked to a Port Everglades company, Florida health officials are asking anyone who’s experiencing symptoms after traveling through the port to stay home for 14 days.

That advisory was issued on Tuesday after the Florida Department of Health announced a 69-year-old woman has tested positive for coronavirus, making her the fourth Broward County case and the third among employees of Metro Cruise Services, which provides ground services at the port.

According to the state health department, officials are working to identify individuals who came into contact with the infected patients while passing through Port Everglades.

In hopes of limiting the spread of the contagious disease, officials ask that anyone who is experiencing symptoms after stopping at the port to isolate themselves for 14 days and to contact their health care provider or local health department before seeking medical care.

Broward County, which declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday, is now home to four of Florida’s 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Besides the 69-year-old woman, it’s unclear which of the other cases – three men ages 65 to 75 – are connected to Metro Cruise Services.

It is not known how many people might have been exposed to the virus by these patients.

The county’s state of emergency is a partial activation of its emergency operations center, which means it will be partially staffed. As WPLG reports, officials are contemplating more frequent cleaning of county facilities along with a series of public service announcements to keep constituents informed.

The health department’s advisory follows similar steps undertaken by federal agencies.

On Saturday, the State Department issued an advisory warning Americans about cruise travel after crew members and passengers on recent voyages were exposed to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends self-quarantining upon returning from international trips.