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This virus most likely emerged from an animal source and now appears to be spreading from person-to-person. Currently, COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
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This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment can change daily. For the latest global situation report please visit WHOs website https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/. The latest national situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page COVID-19. For current information concerning Florida visit the Florida Department of Health website.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.
The Florida Department of Health is working with private and public partners to actively be involved in enhanced surveillance for respiratory illness that may be related to COVID-19. The Florida Department of Health Epidemiologists are partnering with providers to follow up on any suspected cases that meet the criteria for COVID-19 to arrange for testing when needed and monitor contacts of any confirmed cases, if they occur.
The Florida Department of Health is communicating regularly with the public and health care providers with updates on COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121.
To see the latest case count, please visit COVID-19 Case Count.
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection.
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the "incubation period." The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.
If you are returning from an area with an outbreak of COVID-19 the CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for 14 days immediately upon returning from your travels, even if asymptomatic. If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath during those 14 days contact your health care professional and mention your recent travel. Your provider will work with your county public health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who recently traveled from an impacted area, you should call a health care professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel. For the most updated travel advisories regarding COVID-19, visit: U.S. Travel Advisories and CDC Information for Travel.
Information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection is available online.
Your healthcare professional will work with your county health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. A person who is tested will have three specimens taken: oral, nasal, and saliva. The samples will be given to the county health department, who will then either ship or deliver them to the closest state laboratory. If a specimen is tested positive, it will be identified as ‘presumptive positive’ until the result is confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For more information on COVID-19 testing see CDC Tests for COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Health follows CDC guidance on testing for COVID-19. This means that when a person goes to their local health care provider they will be asked the following questions:
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, that person will be tested. Additionally, a person can be tested at the discretion of their local health care provider if they do not meet the above criteria.
The Florida Department of Health has three labs open in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa that will continue to operate to provide results as quickly as possible.
Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations. Click here for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
The length of time that the virus survives likely depends on a variety of factors. These factors could include the type of material or body fluid containing the virus and various environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions are designing standardized experiments to measure how long COVID-19 can survive in situations that simulate natural environmental conditions.
Right now, there are no disinfectant products registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on environmental surfaces that are specifically listed as having the ability to kill COVID-19. However, related viruses that have similar physical and biochemical properties can be killed with bleach, ammonia or alcohol, or cleaning agents containing any of these disinfectants. Cleaning agents should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
For disinfection, a list of products with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Products. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. In general, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.
Current CDC travel guidance is available here: CDC Information for Travel.
Current U.S. Travel Advisories are available here: U.S. Travel Advisories.
Each company establishes its own refund policies, and any decision regarding refunds are between the traveler and the individual company.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are excellent sources of information about this evolving outbreak.
You can access their websites here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmlhttps://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
For Florida specific information, please consult The Florida Department of Health website:http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/.