Increased sample collection in Escambia County uncovers new COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

A nurse at a drive up COVID-19 coronavirus testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center exits a tent while holding a bag containing a swab used to take a sample from the nose of a person in their car, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. UW Medicine is conducting drive-thru testing in a hospital parking garage and has screened hundreds of staff members, faculty and trainees for the COVID-19 coronavirus. U.S. hospitals are setting up triage tents, calling doctors out of retirement, guarding their supplies of face masks and making plans to cancel elective surgery as they brace for an expected onslaught of coronavirus patients. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

PENSACOLA, Ala. (WKRG) — The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County sent out the following update to testing collection and confirmed cases.

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) has received notification of four (4) new positive cases of COVID-19 in Escambia County residents since 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday, March 24. Local efforts to test potentially-exposed individuals in Escambia County, Florida brings the number of Escambia County residents with a COVID-19 diagnosis to a total of fourteen (14) individuals. This number is expected to change daily due to the return of results from ongoing testing.

FDOH-Escambia says contact tracing will be conducted for those individuals who have tested positive. Contact tracing is a frequently-used public health tool for tracking and preventing the spread of disease. Epidemiologists work to find everyone who has been in contact with the positive case. Persons identified to be at-risk through the contact tracing process are interviewed, evaluated, and educated on their risk factors and what they need to do next.

“These results reinforce how important it is for individuals to practice disease prevention methods and support the recent actions taken by state and local governments to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in Escambia County,”

FDOH-Escambia Director, John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP, FHPS

Follow these steps in all situations, even when you feel perfectly healthy:

  • Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands;
  • Avoid large gatherings (more than 10 people) and stay at least six (6) feet away from others;
  • Avoid unnecessary travel, especially international travel and cruise travel;
  • Avoid being around anyone who is sick or who may have a weak immune system;
  • Move away from people before coughing or sneezing;
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away;
  • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose;
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs.

If you are mildly ill, follow these tips to help prevent spreading it to other people:

Drive through testing is available at two locations.

  • IMPORTANT:  All patients are required to be screened before arriving at the drive-through testing centers by calling the local COVID-19 Screening Call Center at 850-746-2684.  
  • The screening call center is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The call center staff will assist in helping find the testing center that best fits the needs of each person needing a COVID-19 test.
  • The hours of operation for the drive-through testing centers for COVID-19 are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19. The webpage remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121 oremailingCOVID-19@flhealth.gov. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The CDC also has a website with information related to COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

*Maps provided by Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi Departments of Public Health

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