Manatee County officials urge good hygiene following coronavirus confirmation by CDC

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Manatee County officials urge good hygiene following coronavirus confirmation by CDC
Posted on 03/02/2020

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (March 2, 2020) – Following a briefing with Gov. Ron DeSantis and state health officials regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) this morning, Manatee County public health and safety officials met at the Public Safety Center today to discuss the latest steps in community preparedness.

"At this time there is no need for alarm, no need to cancel travel plans or community gatherings," said Director Jacob Saur. "The risk of transmitting the coronavirus for Manatee County residents remains low. This is a fluid event and as this progresses information and procedures will change. The community and business owners should speak with their employees about staying home when sick and the possibility of allowing employees to work from home as this develops."

Today's meeting came following the official confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that one person in Manatee County has tested positive for the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19.

Saur urged County residents and visitors to maintain good hygiene habits to avoid transmission of the coronavirus or other airborne illnesses.

"Use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water and avoid touching your face and eyes with unwashed hands," Saur said.

The School District of Manatee County is not planning any school closures at this time. The district is consulting closely with the Health Department and Manatee County Emergency Management regarding all decisions related to Coronavirus (COVID19). The school district is communicating daily with parents and employees on its district website as well as through Connect-Ed electronic phone calls and emails, social media sites and its mobile app – MySDMC.

The district is enhancing cleaning and disinfecting measures in schools, placing orders for additional hand sanitizer for schools and work sites, as well as other materials that could be beneficial.

Saur reiterated State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees' advise that anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact the local health department prior to traveling to a doctor's office or hospital. Manatee County residents or visitors should call DOH's local hotline at (941) 242-6649 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

The Manatee County resident does not have recent travel history to countries identified for restricted travel by the CDC: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. This patient did seek health care, is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. The Florida Department of Health is working closely with the patient, his close contacts and health care providers to isolate and monitor persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and implement testing of anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the Department always recommends everyday preventive actions to help impede the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

For local updates on the coronavirus, or