Coronavirus timeline: Tuesday, March 3

IN-DEPTH: FL schools take measures to protect students as 3 people diagnosed with coronavirus

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Channel 9 has a team of reporters covering the coronavirus in Florida. Read live updates below:

11 p.m. update

In Brevard County, officials say cruise lines and Port Canaveral have both put measures in place to safeguard the thousands of travelers who sail out of Port Canaveral each year.

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“The Port and the cruise industry have taken this really seriously from the very beginning,” said Barry Compagnoni, senior director of public safety for Port Canaveral.

In addition to a more rigorous cleaning schedule for the cruise terminals, cruise lines are screening every crew member and passenger before they get on board.

Hand sanitizer and cleaning products containing alcohol are also running low on store shelves across the area.

With the sickness seemingly hitting the elderly especially, hard, Gov. Ron DeSantis is encouraging retirement facilities and nursing homes to take action immediately.

IN-DEPTH: Port Canaveral taking precautions against coronavirus, hand sanitizer supplies running low

6:30 p.m. update

Watch below as Channel 9 reporters bring you an in-depth report on the latest developments related to the coronavirus in Florida:

IN-DEPTH: Sister of FL coronavirus patient also infected as doctors move to test more people

6 p.m. update

Political reporter Christopher Heath produced a podcast on the coronavirus Tuesday with reporter Lauren Seabrook and Peter Schorsch as guests. The episode focuses on Florida’s response to COVID-19 and its long-term impacts on the economy. Click here to listen.

5:30 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis said a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine gives more insight into the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

The study focused on people who tested positive for the virus in China.

“In that study, there was not anybody who had tested positive who was 15 or under," DeSantis said. "Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t get it. But that suggests that perhaps they’re resistant to it if you’re younger.”

DeSantis said the study also reaffirmed that people with underlying medical conditions, and the elderly are likely to have severe cases.

“So, we’ve been issuing guidance to the nursing home communities and assisted living facilities that you should not be having people entering those facilities who are exhibiting any types of symptoms,” DeSantis said.

IN-DEPTH: Local schools order extra cleaning while doctors clarify coronavirus symptoms

5:20 p.m. update

Watch below as Channel 9 reporters bring you an in-depth report on the latest developments related to the coronavirus in Florida:

LIVE REPORT: Third person in FL tests positive for coronavirus

5:10 p.m. update

Leaders in Brevard County said Tuesday that they have monitored about 25 people who traveled to countires impacted by COVID-19. They said those people have been asked to isolate themselves in tehir homes for up to 14 days.

“I ask them if they’re ill, and, of course, temperatures. We ask them to monitor their own temperatures, then make a determination whether to test or not. We haven’t had to test anyone just yet,” said Barry Inman, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health Brevard County.

People with questions are asked to contact the Florida Department of Health through their hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

5 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans on asking for more state and federal funding to increase testing and healthcare resources to address the coronavirus outbreak.

Right now, testing in Florida can only be done at labs in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami.

“Eventually, we’d want to get those tests in the healthcare facilities. The problem is, it’s not going to happen overnight. I think that that’s potentially months away,” DeSantis said.

4:45 p.m. update

Dr. Candice Jones with Edgewater Pediatrics, broke down the difference in symptoms of the coronavirus for Channel 9 reporter Sarahbeth Ackerman.

Her description of symptoms for the flu: “Runny nose, cough, congestion, higher fevers that usually come on suddenly and then the classic body aches, ‘I feel the yucky and I feel down for the count.'"

Her description of symptoms of COVID-19: “The tell-tale signs are also more respiratory in nature. Cough, runny nose, and then you get into difficult breathing. I would say that would be the biggest difference.”

4:30 p.m. update

School leaders across Central Florida said they are keeping a close eye on the coronavirus. Several districts said they are ramping up cleaning efforts as a precaution.

In Osceola County, Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said custodians have been instructed to wipe down hard surfaces every day. And, if the virus is to show up in one of her schools, she said the district has a plan.

“Our custodial team comes in from the district office to support local school based custodial groups to bring in the heavier equipment, the harsher chemicals, to make sure that the students are gonna be kept safe,” Pace said.

In Brevard County, school officials are reminding students about the simple things they can do to protect themselves from the virus.

“We’re following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control that pretty much call for educating our students and staff about proper hygiene, hand washing, sneeze in your elbow,” said Matt Reed, with Brevard Public Schools.

Lake County School said they are making sure soap dispensers are stocked and that surfaces are wiped down.

Orange County Schools said they are monitoring the situation and have proper protocols in place.

4 p.m. update

To help address concerns about the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), the Florida Department of Health has established a Call Center to answer general questions residents and visitors may have.

The Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center is 1-866-779-6121. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Residents can also send questions via email at COVID-19@flhealth.gov

3 p.m. update

The Volusia County Health Department provided an update on what precautions are being taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. While no cases have been reported in the county, officials said they have been preparing for the virus since January.

Officials said no additional precautions are being taken for spring break or Bike Week beyond what the CDC is recommending.

2:30 p.m. update

2:15 p.m. update

Seminole County posted a video on social media letting residents know that it is closely monitoring COVID-19, though no cases in the county have been reported.

1:15 p.m. update

The Florida Department of Health said Tuesday afternoon that a third “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the state.

The agency said two cases have been confirmed, and there are 16 cases for which the test results are still pending.

There are also 247 people who have been isolated and are being monitored for the virus, officials said.

Click here to read more stories about the coronavirus, click here to receive live updates from the WFTV news app and watch live coverage on the outbreak on Channel 9 Eyewitness News, beginning at 4 p.m.


12:45 p.m. update

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a third person in Florida has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The patient is the sister of a woman in Hillsborough County who had also tested positive.

Both patients recently traveled to northern Italy.


9:25 a.m. update

Health officials have created a website with confirmed cases of coronavirus, as well as pending test results and those under public health monitoring.

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