Public health officials report Florida’s first 2 COVID-19 deaths

2 coronavirus patients in Santa Rosa and Lee counties die in travel-related cases

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The first two Florida COVID-19 patients to die were from Santa Rosa and Lee counties, the Florida Department of Health announced on Friday night.

According to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, the two cases are related to international travel. State public health officials reported the Lee County patient who died was a presumptive positive case. The Santa Rosa County patient had underlying health issues.

The agency refers to the cases as presumptive because the Centers for Disease Control and Protection has yet to retest the patients.

Officials also announced the first two presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in South Florida are in Broward County. According to Helen Aguirre, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, the two men in Broward County are ages 65 and 75.

The largest COVID-19 clusters in the country are in Washington state, California and New York, according to John Hopkins epidemiologists.

As of Saturday morning, there are 278 people “currently being monitored” for COVID-19 symptoms in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florida public health officials are also reporting 12 positive cases: Six are Florida residents, 5 are Florida cases repatriated and one is a non-Florida resident.

For more information about the cases, the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 call center is available 24-hours a day at 1-866-779-6121.

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.