5 Florida residents who traveled to China test positive for coronavirus, DeSantis says

Man over the age of 70 in Santa Rosa County also tests positive for COVID-19

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking in Gadsden County. (WPLG)

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that five Florida residents who recently traveled to China have tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor said all patients are being quarantined, but he did not disclose their locations.

He said the public health risk to Florida remains low.

“Now, they’re not going to be released from quarantine until they test negative so we don’t anticipate that having any impact on the people actually living in Florida,” DeSantis.

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The governor said a Santa Rosa County man who is over the age of 70 has also tested positive for coronavirus in a state lab.

DeSantis said the man had a severe underlying condition and had also recently traveled out of the country.

“He had been doing international travel. He’s not in shape to fully answer all the questions, so there’s an investigation ongoing, but that is a presumptive positive," DeSantis said. “It has not been confirmed by the CDC, but I think we’re at the point now where with the local testing -- you know, we’re highly confident that that’s going to be verified.”

The Florida Department of Health has advised residents to self-isolate for 14 days if they have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 14 days.

Those who become ill during self-isolation are asked to call their local health department.

Symptoms of the virus may appear in two to 14 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Despite the new developments, DeSantis said the public health threat remains low in the Sunshine State.

Still, people are advised to take common sense precautions, such as washing their hands with soap and water, staying home when sick and refraining from touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.