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Coronavirus resources: Health hotlines, websites offer the latest on COVID-19

Health authorities say the best way to to protect yourself is to follow basic good hygiene practices.

As more COVID-19 cases are being monitored and reported in the state of Florida, in the United States and around the world, people have questions and concerns about their health and safety.

Overall, health authorities have emphasized that the risk of contracting COVID-19, or coronavirus, remains low. And, the best way to protect yourself is to follow basic good hygiene practices like washing your hands.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days. Most people recover, but older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk of developing a more serious illness.

In the Tampa Bay area, some hospitals have set up hotlines for questions about coronavirus. And, local health departments have phone numbers to call for questions and concerns in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also activated a price gouging hotline for people to report possible scams amid high demand for cleaning and sanitizing products: (866) 9NO-SCAM.

The products covered under the state's price gouging laws during the state of emergency include protective masks and sanitizing and disinfecting supplies like hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaning products.

Kylie Mason, press secretary for AG Moody, said the state has received 12 consumer contacts regarding price gouging and COVID-19. The Consumer Protection Division is reviewing the complaints to determine whether they contain allegations that meet the definition of price gouging. 

"If we find potential price gouging, our office has a Rapid Response Team ready to contact businesses to prevent price gouging in real-time," Mason wrote in an email.

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Have questions? Here’s where you can find answers:

AdventHealth Coronavirus hotline: 877-VIRUSHQ

The free 24-hour service is for Floridians with questions and concerns about COVID-19. AdventHealth said the goal is not to replace doctor visits but to let nurses answers general questions and suggest next steps for callers.

The company also launched a new FAQ website.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System hotline: 941-917-8799

The health care system launched a FAQ section on its website that shows its own hotline along with the Florida Department of Health hotline. There is also information from the Centers for Disease Control, printable resources in English and Spanish and a guide on the best ways to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Health department numbers in the Tampa Bay area:

  • Pinellas: 727-824-6900
  • Hillsborough: 813-307-8000
  • Pasco: 727-619-0300
  • Polk: 863-519-7900
  • Hernando: 352-540-6800
  • Highlands: 863-386-6040
  • Citrus: 352-527-0068
  • Sarasota: 941-861-2900
  • Manatee: 941-748-0747
  • Hardee: 863-773-4161

Florida Department of Health hotline: 1-866-779-6121

The Florida DOH has a landing page for COVID-19 in the state. There are pages for travelers, businesses and health care providers along with updated details about the latest cases in the state and information about self-isolation.

Contact the CDC: 800-232-4636

The CDC also has a landing page for coronavirus with the latest information about cases in the U.S., preventative measures for people, businesses, schools and health professionals and what to know about both domestic and international travel.

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