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Florida announces 16 new coronavirus patients, including Hillsborough woman

A 49-year-old Hillsborough County woman who tested positive is among the new cases revealed in another series of late-night announcement from Florida officials.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). [ AP ]
Published Mar. 13, 2020
Updated Mar. 13, 2020

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A total of 16 new cases of coronavirus have been discovered in Florida, including one in Hillsborough County, the Florida Department of Health revealed in another series of late-night announcements.

It is the largest number of new patients announced by the state at one time since the outbreak, now a pandemic, started this month.

The source of six of the infections remains unknown, state officials said.

Related: Coronavirus: The day everything in Florida changed

A 49-year-old Hillsborough woman tested positive for the virus and is under isolation until she can be cleared by public health officials. Her case is considered “travel-related” by the state and is associated with travel to Europe.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré said the state considers cases to be travel-related when a patient has either gone out of state or been in contact with someone who has left the state and has the virus.

At 10:39 p.m., the state announced 15 cases including five new patients in Broward, two in Palm Beach, two in Sarasota and one new case each in Alachua, Clay, Duval, Lee and Volusia counties.

Then at 12:30 a.m. Friday, the state revealed another new patient in Miami-Dade County.

State officials have frequently announced new COVID-19 cases late at night. Thursday night’s announcement brings the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in Florida to 46.

In the Tampa Bay region, a total of six people have now tested positive. The Hillsborough woman is the third patient in that county. There are also two patients in Pinellas and one in Pasco counties.

There are now 11 cases linked to Broward, which has the most patients in the state.

A continual rise in the number of patients is expected as health officials ramp up testing for the contagious virus.

Here’s a breakdown of the 15 new cases from the state:

  • A 24-year old Alachua County woman tested positive and is in isolation. This is a travel-related case linked to Europe.
  • A 68-year-old Broward County woman tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated. This case is associated with Port Everglades.
  • A 36-year-old male in Broward County has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel-related case.
  • A 28-year-old Broward County woman tested positive for COVID-19. She is in isolation. It is unclear if this is travel-related. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
  • A 25-year-old Broward County woman tested positive and has been isolated. This is a travel-related case.
  • A 20-year-old Texas woman in Broward County tested positive and is in isolation. This case is associated with travel to Europe.
  • A 57-year-old Clay County man tested positive and is in isolation. It is unclear if this is travel-related. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing.
  • A 83-year-old Duval County man tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first Duval case and the patient is in isolation. The source of the infection is unknown. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine if this is travel-related.
  • A 49-year-old Hillsborough County woman tested positive. This individual is isolated. This is a travel-related case linked to Europe.
  • A 77-year-old Lee County man tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated. It is not known if this is travel-related case. An epidemiological investigation is being conducted.
  • A 42-year old Miami-Dade County man tested positive and is being held in isolation. This is a travel-related case involving exposure to an international traveler.
  • A 74-year-old Palm Beach County man tested positive and is being held in isolation. This is a travel related case and is associated with Europe.
  • A 73-year-old Palm Beach County man tested positive and will be held in isolation until cleared by public health officials. This is a travel related case and is associated with a Nile River cruise in Egypt that infected several Americans.
  • A 70-year-old Massachusetts man in Sarasota County tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is isolated. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine if this is travel-related.
  • A 50-year-old New York man who is currently in Sarasota County tested positive and is being held in isolation. An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine if this is a travel-related case.
  • A 70-year old Volusia County man tested positive for COVID-19 and is under isolation. This is a travel-related case associated with the Nile River cruise.

In other Tampa Bay developments, Feather Sound Country Club sent an email to its members Thursday night revealing new information about two men who it says tested positive after visiting for dinner.

However, it was not known if the men are new, unreported cases of COVID-19, or are the two Pinellas patients announced earlier this week. State officials announced Tuesday that two Pinellas men in their 60s tested positive and both had recently traveled.

According to an email from Feather Sound obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, two men who later tested positive visited the club on March 3. They ate dinner in the member dining room that evening, club manager John Reynaud wrote in the email.

“The health department has assured us that the overall risk exposure is low," he wrote.

Reynaud also assured members that Feather Sound is working with health officials and hired an outside firm to disinfect and sanitize the club “top to bottom."

The club was already taking extra precautions to sanitize frequently-touched surfaces, he wrote.

Neither the club nor the state health department could be reached for comment late Thursday night.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Thursday night also announced that one of its patients was being screened for COVID-19. The 70-year-old man was admitted March 10 and placed in isolation.

It was not known if the Sarasota patient is the same 70-year-old whose case was one of the 15 new ones released Thursday night by the state.

The hospital said final test results are not yet back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the state and hospital are treating it like a confirmed case and isolating the man.

The hospital said it would hold a news conference on Friday about this case.

Coronavirus produces symptoms similar to the flu and can cause severe respiratory infections, particularly in people who are older or have chronic health conditions.

The total number of people who have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in Florida currently stands at 46, according to the state. So far there have been two deaths: A man from Santa Rosa County and a woman from Lee County, both in their 70s and that the state has deemed “travel related.”

More than 128,343 cases have been reported worldwide. Nearly 4,720 people have died.

Times staff writer Zachary T. Sampson contributed to this report.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Florida Department of Health

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