Collier County Health Department monitoring 3 confirmed coronavirus patients

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

We met with a spokeswoman for Florida Department of Health Collier County about the three confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in the county Wednesday, a day after they were announced by the Florida Department of Health.

Spokesperson Kristine Hollingsworth says the three cases are unrelated to one another, and neither patient went to the hospital. Instead, they called the health department when they started to show symptoms.

It quickly became clear Hollingsworth was not legally allowed to say much more than that, but she did confirm the three cases that are here in Collier County are from international travel.

We asked if they had been on a cruise ship or traveled in any other form, and she said she could not tell us.

“Anybody that is traveling internationally should self-monitor for 14 days,” Hollingsworth said. “Should they come and exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or a cough, they need to contact their health department as well as self-isolate.”

We asked how soon confirmed patients exhibited symptoms after they arrived back in the U.S.  and when patients got in touch with FDOH and the Collier department, but HIPPA laws bar that kind of information from being released to the public.

When asked how the patients were tested and if they were responded to or visited a hospital themselves she said, “I would have to double-check with our EPI … We do have protocol here, if a client or anybody who comes here exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, if they do come here, we have signage on the doors that ask them to stop so that a nurse can actually come out and talk to them outside. The nurse is protected in personal protective gear, and they are brought into a room that is negative pressure.”

When it comes to monitoring people that confirmed patients have been in recent contact with, including relatives, Hollingsworth said they are monitoring, “Right now, you know, it’s an epidemiological investigation. So we are in the process of determining if they have even come in contact with anybody.”

We also asked if the health department has traced patient movement since they were tested, and we were told that it is part of the epidemiology investigation.

The Collier County Health Department says it is monitoring the three confirmed patients with daily phone calls currently. The health experts believe everyone asked to quarantine or self-isolate will follow that recommendation.

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