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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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March 12, 2020


March 10, 2020


Ms. Megan McCarthy 

Bushnell, Fla. - On Saturday, March 7, 2020, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory provided at the following link:

Specifically, older individuals are at higher risk for more serious outcomes related to this infection.  While the CDC guidance specifically mentions actions that should take place when there is evidence of community spread, there is an opportunity in communities which have large populations of seniors, to take proactive steps to reduce the risk of disease transmission.  Sumter County has among the largest, if not the largest, density of seniors in the United States.

In Florida, case counts of novel Coronavirus continue to increase.  At present, there are 14 cases of Coronavirus among Florida residents, reported by the Florida Department of Health:

At present, there are no cases of Coronavirus in Sumter County.  This is an evolving situation, however, which is likely to change.  Contact tracing of suspected cases is likely to miss people because it is difficult to know and find everyone who may have come into contact with the sick person.  If Coronavirus were to spread at a large event, the opportunity for primary prevention (preventing disease before it occurs), would have already passed.

Seniors who have serious medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease, Type II diabetes, or conditions reflective of weekend immunity are at higher risk.  They can make decisions, though, that may improve their risk.  They should consider postponing participation in large scale social events, particularly those events held indoors with multiple close contacts (crowds).  Everyone can help reduce the risk of community spread, until the magnitude and severity of this infection are more widely known and understood.

The following actions are recommended:

  • People should not attend in-person events if they are sick.
  • Maintain attendance records with contact information at events.
  • Encourage frequent handwashing, have hand sanitizer with at lease 60% alcohol available and avoid shaking hands.
  • Practice respiratory etiquette.  Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Encourage influenza vaccination.

This guidance is provided in an abundance of caution to protect the health of Sumter County residents.  The Florida Department of Health has established a call center for general questions at 866-779-6121, which is staffed at all times.  Specific questions may be directed to the Sumter County Health Department at 352-569-3102.


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


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