As a California patient tests positive for coronavirus, Florida officials release few details regarding infections

By: - February 11, 2020 1:37 pm

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another case of the potentially fatal coronavirus has been detected in San Diego, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed, increasing the number of U.S. cases to 13.

Meanwhile, Florida hasn’t reported any cases, and state health officials remained silent about individuals being tested for the virus.

“No cases of [coronavirus] have been reported in Florida to date, and the department remains committed to the safety of every Floridian,” the Florida Department of Health said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.

Unlike other states reporting potential cases, Florida health officials aren’t informing the public about “people under investigation,” identified as “PUIs” by the CDC, who are individuals deemed susceptible to the virus under that agency’s guidelines.

A patient in South Florida was tested at a hospital in Hollywood recently, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Again, state health officials said that information “will only be released if determined as necessary by the state surgeon general based upon specific criteria including the highly infectious nature of the disease; the potential for further outbreaks; and/or the inability to identify or locate specific persons in contact with the cases.”

In a written statement, a spokesperson noted: “Every epidemiological investigation is unique, both in nature and circumstance,” adding that state law treats the results of epidemiological investigations as confidential.

Health officials are struggling to contain the virus, referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), that has killed more than 800 people in China, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

Although the United States hasn’t reported any deaths due to the disease, the death toll in countries other than China thus far is only one, which occurred in the Philippines, according to data from the WHO.

The California patient was among other Americans quarantined at a San Diego military base after returning to the United States from China, the CDC said.

“The patient who was under a federal quarantine order recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this Coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019,” the CDC said in a written statement. Wuhan is where the outbreak originated.

“This brings the total number of 2019-nCoV cases in the United States to 13.”

CDC continued: “CDC is conducting a thorough contact investigation of the person who has tested positive to determine contacts and to assess if those contacts had high-risk exposures.”

When asked by the Florida Phoenix about details surrounding the new case in California, a California Department of Public Health spokesperson said via email: “To protect patient confidentiality, the California Department of Public Health cannot provide any information about specific individuals.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.