COVID-19

LIVE OAK, Fla. — Suwannee County received confirmation of its first positive case of COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus, Friday.

The patient is a 51-year-old woman, the Florida Department of Health announced. She is self-isolating and her case is not travel related.

“They are following all prescribed measures and things are going very well at this point,” said Kerry Waldron, the health administrator in Suwannee County.

DOH-Suwannee County is now conducting its contact investigation and is working to identify and notify individuals who will need to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

According to the health department, contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.

Waldron stressed the importance of social distancing and other mitigation practices to help reduce the spread.

“If we work together using smart mitigation practices, we can reduce COVID-19’s impact on our community,” Waldron said in a release. “We must practice social distancing, stay home when sick, frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes, and follow CDC prevention guidelines to stop the spread of the virus.”

COVID-19 symptoms mirror those of other illnesses, such as the flu. COVID-19 patients typically display a fever (100.4° F or higher) as well as a cough, and/or shortness of breath within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus.

Approximately 80% of those affected with COVID-19 report mild to moderate illness and experience a complete recovery. Some experience more severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to the illness include individuals who are over age 65 with underlying health conditions, immunocompromised, ill or have underlying chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Many cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home by treating symptoms, and this is encouraged. However, if you develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to drink fluids, contact 911 and advise them of your symptoms as you may need treatment at a hospital.

In addition to the first positive test, 36 people from Suwannee County have tested negative. An additional 11 people are awaiting results, according to health department data.

Lafayette County has had nine people tested and all have returned negative for the virus.

In Hamilton County, 11 people have tested negative with one additional person awaiting results. One of the people under investigation in Hamilton County is not a Florida resident.

Overall, there are now 2,900 confirmed cases in the state, including 2,757 Florida residents. The health department said 410 people have been hospitalized from the virus, with 35 deaths.

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