LIVE OAK — The 11th confirmed case of the COVID-19 Coronavirus in Suwannee County was announced Friday evening by the Florida Department of Health.

The patient is an 80-year-old male that had close contact with an existing case.

The Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County (DOH-Suwannee) is now conducting its contact investigation and working on identifying and notifying individuals who will need to self-monitor for symptoms for a 14-day period. Contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.

Ten of the county’s 11 cases are connected, according to Kerry Waldron, the administrator of health for Suwannee County.

“It’s horrible that we have the number of cases that we have,” Waldron said Friday. “It is positive that we’re able to identify and contain the majority of them because we know where it’s at.

“Now if we can keep those folks that tested positive to quarantine and self-isolate, that will limit the spread in the community. But right now it is somewhat isolated, which we want to keep it that way.”

Nine of the 11 are self-isolating while two have been hospitalized with the virus: an 80-year-old male that tested positive Wednesday and a 60-year-old female. Both are residents at a long-term care facility, or a nursing home. Nine of the county's confirmed cases are staff or residents of a long-term care facility.

At least eight of the confirmed cases are from Live Oak. The health department's report Friday evening doesn't have the residence of three cases.

There have been 115 from Suwannee County tested with 97 negative results and seven awaiting results.

Neither Hamilton nor Lafayette counties have had a confirmed case. Lafayette County has had 19 people tested, all returning negative.There have been 33 tested from Hamilton County, with 30 results coming back negative and three still pending.

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.

Statewide there have been 10,268 confirmed cases of the virus, 9,925 in Florida residents. According to the health department, 1,334 individuals have been admitted to hospitals and there have been 163 deaths in the state from COVID-19.

Columbia and Madison counties both have four confirmed cases, including one non-Floridian in Madison County. There have been 220 people tested in Columbia County and 38 tested from Madison.

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