8 more test positive for new coronavirus in Florida

FILE - This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC's laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health announced Tuesday night that eight more people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida.

The cases included a man in Nassau County and a Georgia woman who is currently in Alachua County.

Earlier Tuesday, the Department of Health announced a 69-year-old woman in Broward County has tested positive for coronavirus, the third confirmed case among employees of a Port Everglades company.

According to a news release, the latest patient is one of three employees of Metro Cruise Services so far who have been diagnosed with the virus, and the fourth confirmed case in Broward County.

As officials work to identify anyone who had contact with these individuals, they’re asking that any company employees or people who traveled through Port Everglades to self-isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms.

The health department said the latest patient is isolated and will remain in isolation until cleared by officials.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the state agency disclosed that a 60-year-old Volusia County woman with a history of international travel was diagnosed with coronavirus. That woman’s diagnosis is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Volusia County after a 66-year-old woman there also tested positive.

Cases of coronavirus in Florida

Over the weekend, the state announced two people who tested positive for coronavirus died in Florida -- the first deaths on the East Coast. Helen Aguirre Ferre, a spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, confirmed the deaths in Santa Rosa, in the Panhandle, and Lee County, in the Southwest Coast, were of people in their 70s and had traveled overseas.

DeSantis, who declared a state of emergency on Monday to better marshal resources and get outside help to combat COVID-19, said there is no indication yet of community spread within the state. DeSantis said the emergency declaration allows for what he called a unified command structure to limit the spread of the virus and to allow the state to more effectively mobilize resources.

“It also allows — if need be — out-of-state medical personnel to operate in Florida,” he said. “It allows us to more swiftly purchase any necessary supplies, including masks and materials and equipment necessary to set up field hospitals.”

At a late-afternoon news conference at the state Capitol, the governor appealed for calm and common-sense precautions. He specifically cautioned the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to not take cruise ships or long-haul flights, and avoid large gatherings.

As of Monday night, the Florida DOH website said the state is awaiting the results of 115 tests and currently monitoring 302 people. DeSantis said 140 tests came back negative.

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