TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis disclosed late Sunday that two people in the Tampa Bay area are the first in Florida to test "presumptively positive" for COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, and directed his top health official to declare a public health emergency.
One patient is an adult in Manatee County. According to the Department of Health, the patient does not have a travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC. The patient is being treated at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota.
The second patient is an adult in Hillsborough County with a history of travel to Italy. This person is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.
The positive tests still need to be confirmed by the CDC.
"State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees has taken appropriate, decisive action to help affect the best possible outcomes, and I will continue directing our state agencies to do whatever is necessary to prioritize the health and well-being of Florida residents," DeSantis said in a statement.
Florida has 2 presumptive positive #COVID19 cases: one adult resident of Hillsborough County and one adult resident of Manatee County. Both individuals are isolated and being appropriately cared for.
— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) March 2, 2020
"We are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local medical providers to ensure these individuals receive the proper treatment and that anyone who has come into contact with them is following the necessary protocols, limiting or stopping any further spread," Florida State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said.
In his statement, DeSantis issued an executive order taking immediate effect to direct the state health officer and surgeon general to declare a public health emergency in Florida. DeSantis added that he authorized Rivkees to take "any action necessary to protect the public health."
The statement also said the Florida Department of Health has been designated the lead state agency to coordinate emergency responses and to actively monitor all those with apparent or suspected COVID-19 infections for a period of at least 14 days or until tests turned up negative.
According to the department of health, there are 184 people under public health monitoring in the state of Florida. There are eight pending test results and 15 negative test results. Click here for more information.
This story was originally published by McKenna King and Isabel Rosales on
in Tampa, Florida.