Florida Department of Health announces 8 new positive cases of COVID-19

MIAMI (AP) — Health authorities in Florida have diagnosed eight new cases of coronavirus among people who recently traveled internationally, bringing the state’s total to at least 21, officials said.

All of the new patients were aged 64 and older, except for one 46-year-old man.

In an email sent late Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health said the new cases include seven Florida residents and a Georgia resident who is currently in Alachua County, Florida,

The latest round of Florida residents who’ve tested positive live primarily on Florida’s west coast in Collier, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

The health department said the latest patients include three Collier County residents: two women ages 68 and 64, and a 73-year-old man. Two men, ages 67 and 64, tested positive in Pinellas County. A 46-year-old man in Pasco County, north of Tampa, also tested positive. The other person diagnosed with the virus is a 68-year-old man in Nassau County, which is north of Jacksonville on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

All of the new cases in diagnosed in Florida are related to recent international travel, the health department said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, but it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia in older adults and people with existing health problems. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus within weeks.

The new patients and the others who’ve tested positive in Florida are self-isolating for 14 days as instructed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health department said.

The Georgia woman will remain isolated in Alachua County until she is cleared by health officials. The Georgia Department of Public Health is leading the epidemiological investigation for her, the email said.

In addition to the 21 cases of Florida residents diagnosed in the state, five other Florida residents are self-isolating out of state after being diagnosed elsewhere. Also, a 22-year-old California woman who traveled to Italy with her sister and is self-isolating with her in Tampa.

Meanwhile, another Princess cruise ship has been given federal permission to dock in Florida after testing of two crew members cleared them of the new coronavirus and U.S. health officials lifted a “no sail” order. A Princess Cruises spokeswoman, Negin Kamali, said in an email Tuesday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave permission for the Caribbean Princess to return to port on Wednesday.

The CDC has advised all disembarking cruise ship passengers to monitor themselves for 14 days, and immediately self-isolate if they experience symptoms while contacting medical professionals for treatment.

On Tuesday, officials announced that three employees of a company that greets cruise ship passengers in Fort Lauderdale tested positive for COVID-19, prompting officials to urge anyone who recently traveled through Port Everglades to isolate themselves for 14 days if they start experiencing symptoms, which include fever, a cough and shortness of breath.

The three Broward County residents work for Metro Cruise Services at Port Everglades.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Monday, saying the declaration would enable the state to better marshal resources and get outside help as it confronts the growing public health crisis.

Several universities, including Florida State University and the University of Florida, have announced that they would shift to online instruction for the near future.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.