Florida Department of Health confirms 1st case of coronavirus in Miami-Dade, 5th Broward case

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MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) – The Florida Department of Health announced the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Miami-Dade County and confirmed the seventh case of the virus in Broward County.

Health officials announced the new positive cases early Thursday morning.

After returning on a flight from Washington, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the 56-year-old man diagnosed with COVID-19 is at home and not in a hospital. The mayor was in the nation’s capital meeting with federal officials and executives from the cruise industry.

“We have the first confirmed case in Miami-Dade County, a 56-year-old that’s travel-related,” Gimenez said. “That individual is at home, which, to me, appears to be a good sign.”

Gimenez said he figures to learn more about the patient overnight and into Thursday.

Also on Wednesday, Gimenez declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County that went into effect on Thursday. A state of emergency is typically declared to help free up resources and funds to help with a crisis.

“I directed my administration and the county attorneys to draw up a declaration of emergency here in Miami-Dade County, which I’m about to sign,” Gimenez said. “It’s going to take effect [Thursday] morning when we file it with the clerk of the courts. There are a number of steps that now I can take because of the declaration of emergency here in Miami-Dade County, above and beyond the powers given to me by the governor when he declared a state of emergency.”

Gimenez spoke alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Thursday morning.

“Miami-Dade County is an international hub for trade and tourism, so it’s especially important for our community to add extra layers of protection against this virus,” said Gimenez. “We want to be sure that our residents, travelers [and] first responders are safe and that our community is not hit hard by the COVID-19. We also want our decisions to be guided by science and not to overreact.”

Gimenez explained measures that will be taken to protect residents and first responders.

“Healthy people can carry the virus, and we don’t want to overburden our emergency rooms with people who can self-isolate at home. We are looking at smart ways to better protect our residents and first responders,” said Gimenez. “Working with JMH CEO Carlos Migoya, we’re looking to shift resources to develop isolation spaces at MIA and also the Port of Miami.”

Gimenez also said he would implement the major changes to protocols DeSantis announced on Wednesday for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and state universities.

Three new cases have been confirmed in Broward County, bringing the county’s total to seven.

A 70-year-old man tested positive for the virus and has been isolated. Health officials on Wednesday said he previously attended an Emergency Medical Services conference in Tampa prior to his diagnosis.

On Thursday, the two additional COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

A 61-year-old man tested positive and has been isolated. Health officials said it is a travel-related case connected to Port Everglades.

A third man in Broward County, 65, tested positive and has been isolated. Health officials have not declared whether this case is travel related.

A 57-year-old male in Lee County also tested positive and has been isolated. Health officials have not confirmed if this was a travel-related case.

A 63-year-old man from New York who is currently in St. Johns County has also tested positive for the virus. Health officials said the man traveled from New York to attend Daytona Bike Week in Daytona, Florida.

Gimenez added that one of his main focuses for Thursday is to find out how to better protect seniors in Miami-Dade County.

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