Ten tested for coronavirus in Okeechobee County

OKEECHOBEE– UPDATE: According to data released by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) at 7 p.m. on March 18, ten residents of Okeechobee County have been tested for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Three of those tests have come back negative while seven results are still pending.

Statewide there have been a total of 2,800 tests administered. So far 328 of those test have been positive, 1,332 negative with 1,140 still pending.

March 18 marks the biggest rise in coronavirus cases in Florida to date, with FDOH announcing 74 new cases. The previous high was March 17 with 70 new positive test results in the state. On March 16 FDOH announced only 32 new coronavirus cases.

At a March 13 press conference Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the purchase of 2,500 testing kits that gave qualified labs throughout the state the capacity to process tests for up to 625,000 people.

“When this first started the CDC was looking for travel to China and connections with that,” said Gov. DeSantis. “But here’s where we’re at now. If you are elderly, 65 plus, and you have symptoms regardless of where you’ve traveled you are eligible to be tested. If you’re somebody, regardless of age, who has an underlying medical condition and you have symptoms, you are absolutely eligible to be tested. If you’re somebody who has been hospitalized with pneumonia or an unknown cause, you’re eligible to be tested. We’ve done a lot to expand the testing capability and we’re going to do more.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. FDOH recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
Covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Contact the Florida Department of Health Hotline Call Center at 1-866-779-6121 (24/7) to report any specific COVID-19 symptoms, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week OR email your questions to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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