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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Governor, Health Officials Say There Are No Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 In Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference as Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson, left, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, second from left, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, right, listen, Thursday, in Tallahassee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference as Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson, left, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, second from left, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, right, listen, Thursday, in Tallahassee.

No one in Florida has the illness caused by the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, but state officials say they’re preparing in case that changes.

Reporters at the Florida Capitol Thursday pressed Governor Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to disclose how many people have been tested for COVID-19 in Florida. 

“I actually wanted to give all the numbers, but they pointed me to the regulation of the statute,” DeSantis said, referring to a patient confidentiality statute.

Rivkees would only say the people were flagged after flying to the U.S. from China  — and all tested negative.

“This is a situation that is dynamic and is rapidly changing. And if those circumstances change, then we absolutely will make the public informed to protect the public. But at the present time, we don’t have community spread in Florida.’”

DeSantis also stressed that no one in Florida has tested positive for the coronavirus, which began in China.

“If that were to change, then, obviously, Dr. Rivkees and my administration would want to let people know that ASAP,” DeSantis said.

Rivkees said county health departments will work with anyone suspected of having coronavirus so they won’t face large medical costs, although he didn’t provide specifics. 

He said around 80 percent of people who catch the virus have a mild illness and can be treated at home.

The mortality rate for COVID-19 is roughly 2 percent  — mostly among the elderly and people with underlying medical issues.

There are more than 81,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with just over 60 of them in the U.S.

- The News Service of Florida contributed to this story.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.  

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