Patients in Florida had coronavirus symptoms as early as January

Patients in Florida had coronavirus symptoms as early as January

The novel coronavirus infected as many as 171 people in Florida as long as two months before officials announced it had come to the state, a Palm Beach Post analysis of state records shows.

Patients reported symptoms of the deadly virus as early as Jan. 1, when the disease was thought to be limited to China, Department of Health records reveal. The records don’t say if patients reported those symptoms to the state until months later or if local offices of the health department actively investigated the illnesses at the time or a combination of both.

The state pulled the records off its website late Monday without explanation.

Florida did not announce its first two presumed coronavirus cases until March 1. At the time, cases were not considered confirmed until reviewed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC confirmed those first two cases, in Manatee and Hillsborough counties, on March 2. The state now has recorded more than 36,000 cases of the deadly virus.

But at the time of the first two cases, 171 people across 40 counties who would later test positive for COVID-19 were suffering from the disease, state records show. Three of those patients were in Palm Beach County, which officially didn’t record its first two coronavirus cases until March 13. The county now has more than 3,300 cases.

Until Monday evening, when the state confirmed a coronavirus case, it publicly posted data on each case, without identifying the patient. The publicly shared data included a date that represented one of two things: when the patient first started feeling symptoms or when the patient received a positive test result.

It is not clear from the data how the state treated the patients or even when they found out about their symptoms. No state officials could be reached for comment late Monday.

The entire dataset disappeared from the state website Monday evening only to return after 7:30 p.m. without the column showing the date relating to symptoms.

An analysis of the state data, which has been downloaded and retained by The Post since the state started posting it in March, found these diverse early cases:

— A 4-year-old Duval County girl started feeling symptoms or had her first positive test on Jan. 1. The state did not officially record her case until April 8.

— An 84-year-old Palm Beach County man who had not traveled, but was hospitalized, had symptoms or a positive result on Feb. 5. But his case was not added to Florida’s coronavirus tally until April 3.

— A 48-year-old Palm Beach County woman whose symptoms or positive test results were reported Feb. 6. Her case was counted on Saturday.

— A 74-year-old Palm Beach County woman with symptoms or a positive result on Feb. 23, whose case was recorded by the state on April 4. She reported no out-of-state travel and she came into contact with someone carrying the virus.

— A 65-year-old man in Broward County who had traveled to the Cayman Islands listed symptoms or a positive test on Jan. 4 but his case was not recorded until March 7.

— A 30-year-old Broward County man, whose symptoms or first positive result came on Feb. 25, died. His case was added March 15.

— A 65-year-old man in Sarasota County who had traveled to California and came into contact with an infected person reported symptoms or had a positive result on Feb. 23. State health officials added his case April 6.

Among the 171 patients were 105 women and 66 men. They ranged in age from 4 to 91.

Even though the disease was thought confined to China before January, most of the early patients hadn’t traveled: 103 reported no travel while just 52 said they had.

None reported traveling to China.

Only six were not Florida residents. Their symptoms or positive results started appearing in mid- to late February.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/05/patients-florida-had-symptoms-covid-19-early-january/3083949001/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »