Fifteen tested for coronavirus in Okeechobee; 7 negative, 8 still pending

OKEECHOBEE– According to the latest data released by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) at 6 p.m. on March 20, fifteen residents of Okeechobee County have been tested for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Seven of those tests have came back negative while eight results are still pending.

Seven residents in Hendry County have been tested for the virus, with six negative results and one still pending. In Palm Beach County 315 people have been tested, with 42 positive, 264 negative and nine still pending.

Currently FDOH data shows no tests have been performed in Glades County

According to FDOH data those tested in Okeechobee range in age from 13 to 82, with the average age being 54. The 15 tested in Okeechobee are made up of six men and nine women.

In Hendry County those tested ranged in age from 30 to 85.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically.

Statewide there have been a total of 7,367 tests administered. So far 563 of those test have been positive, 5,710 negative with 1,194 still pending.

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

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