TALLAHASSEE — There are now more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health announced Thursday evening.
In the latest update, the health department shows 9,008 confirmed cases including 8,694 in Florida residents. There have been 1,167 people admitted to the hospital with the virus and 144 deaths.
Earlier Thursday, the seventh confirmed case was announced for Suwannee County. The 60-year-old female had close contact with an existing confirmed case and is hospitalized. She is the second person hospitalized with the virus from the county, one of whom is at Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center. The other is in a hospital outside the county.
“I would like to remind folks to remain calm,” the county’s Administrator of Health Kerry Waldron said. “This is a time for calmness, but also be cautious and use common sense as we move forward with our deliberations and daily living.
“Common sense has to prevail. If you’re sick, please stay home. If you do not have to go anywhere, don’t go. Only make necessary trips.”
There have been 102 people from the county identified for testing with 79 testing negative for the virus. There are 16 still awaiting the test results.
At a special called meeting of the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday morning, Waldron reiterated that not everybody needs to be tested. Rather, those with symptoms that meet the criteria following a screening have samples taken that are sent to be tested. The symptoms include fever, coughing, respiratory issues and breathing issues, Waldron said.
Waldron added that priority is given to individuals in the hospital with symptoms, healthcare facility workers with symptoms, those people with underlying medical issues that have symptoms, long-term medical care facility patients with symptoms, first responders with symptoms and people 65 and older with symptoms.
Those that are prioritized have their samples sent to the state lab for testing which returns results within 24 to 48 hours. Other samples are sent to commercial labs which can take up to a week to return results, Waldron said.
“We do not want to create panic at all in our community,” he added. “This virus will run its course. There has been a high recovery rate. Those that we see that are passing away are generally have other morbidity issues, underlying medical issues and they are generally in the elderly population.
“You will be isolated. You will be home. You can overcome this.”
Hamilton and Lafayette counties have had no positive tests. There have been 28 people tested in Hamilton County with 25 negative results and three pending. Twelve individuals have been tested in Lafayette County, all returned negative.
Columbia County had its fourth confirmed case announced Thursday, while Madison County has had two confirmed cases.