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According to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), two Sarasota men have been diagnosed with coronavirus. One of the men is 50 years old and the other is 70; both cases are marked as "under investigation" as to whether they are travel-related. The news comes on the heels of two Manatee County diagnoses, one in a 63-year-old male and another in an 81-year-old female.

In a release, Sarasota Memorial Hospital confirmed that the 70-year-old man had tested presumptively positive for the disease. He was admitted to the hospital on March 10 and placed in isolation under the care of trained staff. The hospital added that it is working with the FDOH to isolate and monitor any healthcare providers and close contacts of the patient who have been potentially exposed, and implementing testing for anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, cough or shortness of breath.  

“Our team has been preparing for this eventuality for more than a month, and we have trained teams equipped with the resources needed to help keep our community safe,” SMH CEO David Verinder says. “As more people are diagnosed, it is important to remember that we are talking about more than numbers. These are people we care for, and care about, and we all need to do our part to protect those most vulnerable in our community.”

Anyone who suspects they may have symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to call the Florida Department of Health coronavirus call center, which is available 24/7 at (866) 779-6121. 

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