Visitor says precautionary decontamination tent sits outside Port Charlotte hospital

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Visitors sit near a precautionary decontamination tent outside the emergency room entrance at Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte Sunday March 8, 2020. Credit: WINK News.

A visitor at Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte tells us a yellow tent sitting outside the hospital’s emergency entrance Sunday is for decontamination.

The visitor we spoke to works for a private ambulance company and told us a hospital worker gave him an idea of why it’s there.

“When they were putting it up, I chatted with them,” said Nicholas Florio, a contractor visiting Fawcett Memorial. “And they said, ‘No, it’s just precautionary.’ You know, they may have training, but it’s just precautionary.”

Florida Department of Health announced one patient in Charlotte County tested presumptively positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) Saturday.

“I know a lot of people are nervous about coronavirus,” Florio said.

Inside the hospital, other visitors we spoke to said the staff effort is noticeable.

“They are very careful of who they let in for visitors in the ICU,” said Dee Covello visiting Fawcett Memoriual. “And that’s where he is located, so I am perfectly all right with it.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis says it’s a woman in her fifties who recently traveled near Egypt or Israel. There is no word yet if she’s receiving treatment at Fawcett Memorial or at another area hospital. And it’s not confirmed if she had an underlying medical condition.

We reached out to a hospital spokesperson to confirm the purpose of the big yellow tent outside Fawcett Memorial. Although nothing was shared specifically about the tent, a spokesperson shared a statement with us Sunday regarding the hospital’s effort against coronavirus (COVID-19):

“Fawcett Memorial Hospital has protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases, and we are working diligently to help ensure we’re prepared for potential issues related to the spread of COVID-19,” the spokesperson shared in a written statement. “Our preparedness efforts include reinforcing appropriate infection prevention protocols and guidance from the CDC, ensuring we have necessary supplies and equipment and emergency planning. We have restricted entrances into the hospital and are now screening visitors prior to entering the hospital. We continue to work in partnership with the Charlotte County Health Department and the CDC.”

Other major hospitals in Charlotte County are being equally cautious. Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda have limited entrances, forcing all visitors to enter through the emergency room.

“A lot of people walking around with masks,” Florio said.

Where Florida resident coronavirus patients are in state

Broward County: 3 patients
Charlotte County: 1 patient
Hillsborough County: 1 patient
Lee County: 1 patient
Manatee County: 2 patients
Okaloosa County: 1 patient
Volusia County: 1 patient

Total: 12 patients

Florida resident coronavirus patients who have died in state

Lee County: 1 patient
Santa Rosa County: 1 patient

Total: 2 patients

The numbers above are current as of 11 p.m. Sunday, March 8. See latest state coronavirus numbers on the Florida Department of health website.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

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