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St. Petersburg condo resident tests positive for coronavirus

Managers at ONE St. Petersburg alerted other residents to the positive case in an email Wednesday night. The case is one of 14 positive tests in Pinellas County.
A resident of ONE St. Petersburg tested positive for coronavirus, according to an email sent to residents by building managers. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

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ST. PETERSBURG — A resident of the ritzy ONE St. Petersburg condominium building has tested positive for coronavirus.

Building management alerted residents in an email Wednesday evening.

The case is one of 14 positive tests of coronavirus in Pinellas County. As of Thursday morning, Florida health officials reported 390 positive cases involving residents and visitors diagnosed here as well as a small number of Floridians diagnosed and isolated outside the state.

The ONE resident, who was not identified, is quarantined at a hospital, general manager James H. Baumgartner wrote to building residents. The spouse of the sick resident is self-quarantined in the condo unit.

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg also confirmed Thursday that the downtown hospital has its first confirmed case of the virus. It was unclear if Bayfront’s case and ONE’s case are the same.

Bayfront officials said the patient has been separated from others in an “infection isolation room only a small team of caregivers can access."

“Our hospital continually works to ensure preparedness for all types of infectious diseases," David Larrick, the hospital’s marketing director, said in a statement. “We are well prepared to support this patient during testing and treatment, and to continue providing medical care for all patients in our care while protecting the safety of our caregiving team and other patients."

Coronavirus causes the illness COVID-19, which can manifest with flu-like symptoms such as fever and respiratory issues. It is spread through respiratory droplets from things like sneezing and coughing. Unlike the flu, people can carry the virus for up to two weeks before experiencing symptoms, which makes it difficult to prevent transmission.

Most show no or only mild symptoms. Even among those who experience serious symptoms, the virus is not usually fatal, though it can be dangerous to the elderly or those with compromised immune systems or a history of respiratory issues.

Health officials learned of eight positive cases tied to Pinellas County on Wednesday, according to state data released Thursday morning. At least two of those were related to domestic travel — both to New York. Those patients are a 61-year-old woman and a 54-year-old woman.

Another Pinellas case involved a trip to Egypt.

Investigators had not yet determined if four of the Wednesday cases were travel related. The state says its data may change as investigations continue.

The ONE St. Petersburg email, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, said the resident returned from a domestic trip on March 8 and began to feel unwell. The resident self-quarantined in their unit and was able to obtain a coronavirus test on March 14.

The email said the resident “just received the positive result.”

It’s unclear from the email exactly when the resident received confirmation of the test result or when the positive nature of the test was conveyed to building managers.

Larrick, of Bayfront, said he was “looking into” which day the patient tested positive.

According to the ONE email, the resident attended no building events. But on March 12, while the resident was awaiting a test, the resident’s spouse visited the building’s pool for about an hour.

Inside the building’s lobby on Thursday, the front desk was cordoned off to guests, and a concierge wore black protective gloves. He referred questions to FirstService Residential, the building’s management company.

FirstService would not discuss what measures, if any, it has taken within the building to mitigate the risk of transmission to other residents.

“To protect the privacy of the resident and community, we have nothing further we can add to the story," the company said through a spokeswoman.

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