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By Pam Beck

April 04, 2020


MONTICELLO, Fla.—Jefferson County received confirmation of its first positive case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, Saturday. The person ill with the virus is a 76-year-old male. This person is isolated and receiving care in the hospital.

The Florida Department of Health in Jefferson County (DOH-Jefferson) is now conducting its contact investigation and working on identifying and notifying individuals who will need to selfmonitor for symptoms for a 14-day period. Contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.

As Jefferson sees its first confirmed case, DOH-Jefferson Administrator Kimberly Allbritton emphasized the importance of mitigation practices in preventing the spread of the virus. “The safety and health of Jefferson residents is our top priority” said Ms. Allbritton. “I encourage those over age 65 as well as those with underlying health conditions to remain at home. All residents are advised to practice social distancing and limit your movement to essential and necessary activities. Avoid traveling outside of your community, including trips to Georgia and other Florida counties. Since this case was diagnosed in someone over age 65, I want to emphasize the importance of limiting contact and social distancing yourself from friends and relatives over 65 and from those with other medical conditions. This is for their safety and yours.”

Social distancing measures that have included the closure of schools and recommendations to cancel gatherings of more than 10 individuals are two of the ways that health officials hope to prevent the speed of the virus’ spread in the state. Preventing the speed and spread of the virus would “flatten the curve” and prevent overwhelming the health care systems.

DOH-Jefferson has been monitoring COVID-19 since January and been in contact with Jefferson County Emergency Management and medical providers to prepare response activities in the event we were to see cases in Jefferson.

COVID-19 symptoms and treatment
The symptoms of COVID-19 can mirror illnesses such as influenza. Patients with COVID-19 typically display symptoms such as fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and/or shortness of breath within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. Approximately 80% of those affected with COVID-19 report mild to moderate illness and experience a complete recovery. Some experience more severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to the illness include individuals who are over age 65 with underlying health conditions, immunocompromised, ill or have underlying chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

If you are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, call your health care provider. It is important to call ahead before visiting your health care provider. Offices must take proper steps to avoid further spread of COVID-19 when a concerned patient arrives for a medical evaluation. If you do not have a health care provider or health insurance, call Madison Medical Center at 850-948-2840 or DOH-Jefferson at 850-342-0170 to determine if you meet the criteria for testing. Assistance with the steps outlined above may be obtained by calling our coronavirus information line at 850-342-0170, option 1.

Many cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home by treating symptoms, and this is
encouraged. However, if you develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to drink fluids, contact 911 and advise them of your symptoms as you may need treatment at a hospital.

For more guidance
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 visit

Local Call Center Available 24/7

Individuals can call DOH-Jefferson’s COVID-19 call center 24/7 at 850-342-0170, option 1 for general questions about the virus. Individuals can also continue to contact the statewide COVID-19 hotline 24/7 at 866-779-6121 or Health care providers should continue to call DOH epidemiology staff if they have questions regarding testing.

About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the
Public Health Accreditation Board
, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit