DeSantis on Coronavirus: Overall Threat Still Low

UPDATE: The health department says the two coronavirus cases are confirmed.

TAMPA -- Despite the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the overall threat to the public remains low.

At a news conference in Tampa Monday morning, DeSantis told reporters they do expect to see more people to test positive for COVID-19.

DeSantis says the state has tested 23 other patients. 184 people are currently being monitored, and a total of 795 have been monitored by the state health department.

The governor has declared a public health emergency and designated the state Department of Health to coordinate a response. DeSantis is also asking the Agency for Health Care Administration to ensure that assisted living facilities and nursing homes are responding adequately to coronavirus. He'll also communicate with the Legislature on funding for the response.

State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees says they're awaiting CDC confirmation on the two cases. The first is a Manatee County man in his 60s who is hospitalized and being treated for pneumonia. It's not known how he was exposed. They're working to find that out. He's in stable condition. Rivkees says they'll test anyone who shows symptoms.

The second patient is a Hillsborough County woman in her 20s who had visited northern Italy, the site of a large outbreak. She is stable and isolated (quarantined) at home.

Rivkees says the 184 being monitored are a group that visited mainland China, and that they are self-isolating.

Reporters asked why it took 24 hours to get the word out to the public after the man was identified as a coronavirus sufferer. One reporter said they called the hospital where the man was a patient, only to be told the story was a "hoax." Rivkees says they decided to go ahead and inform the public even though the CDC confirmation hadn't yet arrived, and acted to put protective measures in her place.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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