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First 2 coronavirus cases confirmed in Palm Beach County, both men in 70s

Both cases travel-related, health officials say
Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 12, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The first two cases of coronavirus in Palm Beach County and five more in Broward County were confirmed, among 15 new ones in the state, the Florida Department of Health announced Thursday night.

The total number of cases of COVID-19 in Florida stands at 50, including 42 people currently in the state, according to the department.

The Palm Beach County cases are two men in their 70s and both are travel-related. The department said both men will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.

Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee confirmed on Friday that a person infected with coronavirus is being treated there, but no colleagues or caregivers have been exposed.

The hospital released this statement to WPTV:

"Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee, FL has well established protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases, and we have been working diligently to help ensure we are prepared for COVID-19. Today, we were notified by the Florida Department of Health that a patient in our facility tested positive for COVID-19. Upon their arrival, we immediately activated protocols for handling COVID-19 cases, including isolating the individual and following precautions to ensure the safety of patients, colleagues and visitors. We are working closely with the CDC and the health department, and followed their guidance as we notified individuals who may have been in contact with the patient. At this time, no colleagues or caregivers have been exposed.

In addition, as we often do during heavy influenza outbreaks, visitor restrictions have been instituted. Visitors and patients are being directed to use specific entrances to allow visitors to be screened. We have positioned supplies at points of entry, so that any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked and immediately isolated to protect our colleagues and other patients.

We continue to reinforce infection prevention protocols and work in partnership with the Florida Department of Health and the CDC. We will provide updates to our hospital and medical staff as necessary."

The 73-year-old's case is associated with a Nile River cruise/tour in Egypt and the 74-year-old man's case is associated with travel to Europe, health officials said.

Two other cases have been linked to Palm Beach County.

On Sunday, the Health Department in Palm Beach County announced a Pennsylvania person who attended a Palm Beach County convention in February tested positive for the virus.

11 cases are linked to Broward County.

Three of the cases announced late Thursday are travel-related in Broward County -- a 25-year-old female, a 36-year-old man and a 20-year-old Texas woman who went to Europe. It is unclear whether a 28-year-old woman's case is travel-related, and a 68-year old woman is associated with Port Everglades.

Four cases are associated with Port Everglades -- all connected to or employed by Metro Cruise Services.

The 20-year-old victim is the youngest case in the state. The oldest is an 81-year-old woman in Manatee County.

Two additional cases in Broward were announced earlier Tuesday -- men who are 61 and 65.

Broward County officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday.

Three other cases in the state are travel related: a 24-year old woman in Alachua County, a 49-year old Hillsborough County woman who traveled to Europe and a 70-year old Volusia County man who went on a Nile River cruise/tour in Egypt.

It is currently unclear whether fives cases are travel-related: a 50-year old New York man who is currently in Sarasota County, a 70-year old Massachusetts man in Sarasota County, an 83-year old man in Duval County, a 57-year-old man in Clay County and a 77-year-old man in Lee County.

The Florida victims who died were a patient in Santa Rosa County, Florida's Panhandle, after an international trip and a person in Lee County in his or her 70s who also traveled abroad.

The Florida Department of Health recommends all individuals experiencing symptoms, who have recently traveled through Port Everglades, to immediately contact their County Health Department or health care provider and self-isolate for 14 Days.

RELATED: Coronavirus hotline now open in Florida

Get the latest information about coronavirus in Florida by clicking here.

The number of confirmed fatalities in the United States rose to 41 Thursday -- four more than the day before and surpassed 1,600 cases. Worldwide, the fatalities passed 4,700 with more than 128,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins.

The number of cases and deaths continue to drop in Mainland China, where the outbreak started. On Friday morning, 20 new cases and seven deaths were announced compared with daily cases in the thousands and deaths in the hundreds at its peak. Since the virus was identified in early January, there have been more than 3,100 deaths and nearly 81,000 cases in mainland China.