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First coronavirus cases in Florida announced 1 year ago

More than 1 million residents have since tested positive, more than 30,000 have died
Map of Florida on coronavirus background
Posted at 12:58 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 13:03:25-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's been exactly one year since Florida announced its first two coronavirus cases.

The Florida Department of Health announced on Twitter its first two "presumptive positive" cases on March 1, 2020.

During a news conference in Miami the next day, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that the cases were "100% verified."

DeSantis was joined by Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, who said one of the cases was in Hillsborough County and involved a woman who had traveled to Italy. The other case involved a man who was hospitalized in Manatee County.

Eleven days after the governor's announcement, the first two cases of coronavirus in Palm Beach County were confirmed by the Florida Department of Health. Both cases involved men in their 70s who had recently traveled.

The revelation came on the same day that an infected passenger traveled from New York to Palm Beach International Airport aboard a JetBlue flight.

JetBlue plane on tarmac at PBIA

Scott Rodman, who had been a passenger on the flight, told WPTV that the man's wife "mentioned to others that he wasn't feeling well" and had "gotten a phone call with his test results" just before takeoff.

Dr. Alina Alonso, the health director in Palm Beach County, told passengers on the flight that the man received a text that he had tested positive while on the flight.

Alonso said the next day that she "interviewed and examined" the passenger, who exhibited no symptoms.

"He was appropriately sent to his home," she said of her decision to release everyone from the plane. "The people surrounding him were appropriately told to monitor for any symptoms."

Palm Beach County health director answers questions about JetBlue flight

Before the end of the month, travel restrictions would be in place for travelers flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

One year later, more than 1 million Florida residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 30,000 residents have died from the virus.