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Gov. DeSantis: Florida monitoring 184 potential coronavirus cases, 'public risk is still low'

The state announced Monday that there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus – one in Hillsborough County and the other in Manatee County.

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is monitoring 184 potential cases of coronavirus following the confirmation of two positive cases.

During a Monday morning news conference in Tampa, DeSantis said there will likely be more positive cases of coronavirus or COVID-19. However, state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said the "risk is still low" for the general public.

DeSantis also issued an executive order to declare a public health emergency in Florida and establish protocols to control the spread of the virus.

Reiterating what the Centers for Disease Control and other health leaders have been saying, Rivkees and DeSantis said the best ways to protect yourself are washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding people who are sick and staying home if you feel ill.

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Credit: 10News

As for the two cases in the Tampa Bay area, Rivkees said the one in Manatee County is a man in his 60s. The surgeon general said it is not yet known how he was exposed, but he remains stable in the hospital.

The other case, a woman in her 20s, is in Hillsborough County. Rivkees said she recently returned from northern Italy. She is also stable in the hospital.

Rivkees also said the state can conduct tests for the virus at facilities in Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville. To help prevent the spread of the virus, Rivkees said Florida residents and visitors should consult the CDC website before traveling to affected areas overseas.

If you are returning from those areas, or have returned in the last 14 days, health authorities ask you to self-isolate for 14 days. If you become ill, Rivkees said to contact your local health department or county health care provider. 

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People who are looking for more information on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and about how to protect themselves can visit the Florida Department of health’s website. Additional useful information can be found on the CDC’s website and the World of Health Organization’s website. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Rivkees said these symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after being exposed. While health leaders say most people have a mild case and recover, older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk of developing more serious sickness.

There is no cure or vaccine for coronavirus. Rivkees said the best way to stay healthy is to lower your risk of being exposed to it.

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