By Jim McCarthy and Tiffany Duong
Positive tests for COVID-19 in Monroe County more than tripled over the last two days, with seven new cases reported on March 25 and three today, bringing the total to 14 as of 7:10 p.m on Thursday, March 26.
Per the Florida Health Department, 11 cases are travel-related while three were classified as community-acquired. 12 cases affect Keys residents, and two are non-Florida residents.
According to the health department, men account for nine of the known cases and five are women. Seven cases are in Key West, three in Key Largo, one in Tavernier, one in Summerland Key and two are non-Florida residents. The patients range in age from 19 to 80. Three of the people who tested positive are currently hospitalized; no virus-related deaths have occurred in Monroe County as of March 26 at 7:30 p.m., according to health officials.
The first case in Monroe County, reported by the health department on March 19, involves a 72-year-old female resident of Key Largo, who recently traveled to the United Kingdom. The individual is isolated at her residence and is expected to remain there until cleared by the health department. She’s expected to make a full recovery.
Another positive test came on March 23, involving a 54-year old woman from Key West. All indications show the infection was acquired during her travels to France. The woman is isolated at her home and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by the department. She also is expected to make a full recovery.
A third case involving a 52-year-old female from Key West was reported the morning of March 24. Unlike the first two, the third case wasn’t associated with any overseas travel and is under investigation, health department officials said. The individual is isolated at her home and will continue to remain so until cleared by the department.
The fourth reported case came on the evening of March 24 and involved a 48-year-old male resident of Key Largo, who recently traveled to Los Angeles. The individual is isolated at home and will continue to be until cleared. He is expected to make a full recovery.
As for the first four new cases reported March 25, an 80-year-male resident recently traveled to the Caribbean, while a 20-year-old female made a recent trip to France. A 54-year-old male resident and a 79-year-old male, who’s not a Florida resident, both made recent trips to New York.
Late on March 25, reports came in about a 48-year-old female resident with unknown travel history, a 19-year-old male resident who traveled to Pennsylvania, and a 23-year-old non-resident who traveled to Spain.
There was one case of a 75-year-old resident who had not traveled, which was the second confirmed case of community-spread infection in the county.
At the end of March 26, a 49-year-old non-Florida resident was reported after travels to New York and Utah, and a 67-year-old male resident became the third community-spread case.
“Although the current case count reflects a majority being travel-related, the department strongly encourages everyone to do their part — be vigilant. Actively social distance and stay home as much as possible, and wash your hands as much as possible,” said Alison Kerr, health department spokeswoman in Monroe County.
Across the state of Florida, positive cases jumped to 2,484 — 2,352 involving Florida residents and 124 non-state residents. 1,771 people are currently being monitored.