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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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COVID-19 Update

March 18, 2020


Marchd 18, 2020

Ms. Megan McCarthy
Office: 352-569-3134 / Cell: 352-446-6382

Bushnell, Fla. - As you are aware, cases of COVID-19 continue to increase.  As March 17, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report there are 4,226 cases in the United States and 289 cases among Florida residents, reported by the Florida Department of Health.  With this release, the Sumter County Health Department confirms its first travel-related case of COVID-19.  The Sumter County Board of County Commissioners declared a local state of emergency yesterday.  This action helps inform the community response and provides for additional fiscal support to support the overall community effort.

Two advisories were published from this office advising Sumter residents on social distancing, as well as other hygienic practices to prevent community spread.  As you are also aware, guidance concerning social distancing have recommended increasingly restrictive approaches to prevent community spread.

I urge you to redouble your efforts concerning social distancing to reduce the chance of disease acquisition or transmission.  Please do not congregate in large groups (now defined as 10 or more people).  As community recreation centers postpone events, please do not transition to driveway gatherings or pot luck events.  Postpone unnecessary travel.  Please contact any custodial facility where people are cared for ahead of time for guidance on how that visit can be safely conducted, using distancing methods.  Please do not hoard needed supplies as this hampers community prevention efforts.

Many cases of the COVID-19 illness can be managed at home, and you are encouraged to do so.  You may feel unwell.  However, if you develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to take fluids and supplies left at the door, for those neighbors who are ill.

If, as a community, we modify our daily social activities as I outlined, the potential effects of exposure for each of you will likely be reduced or attenuated.  The curve of any community spread will be flattened, which will enable our ambulances and hospitals to more effectively respond.

Finally, and most importantly, please try to remain calm.  We will continue to manage this in the most thoughtful way, in partnership with you all.

Sanford D. Zelnick, D.O., M.S.
Sumter County Health Department



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