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March 22, 2020

Panama City, Fla.— Yesterday, Bay County received confirmation of its first positive case of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The person ill with the virus is a 47-year-old male non-Florida resident from Texas. The case has been ruled as domestic travel-related.


The Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) has completed its contact investigation. Individuals who will need to self-monitor for symptoms for a 14-day period have been identified. Contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.


Information about where the person was staying or where they visited as well as their current condition are protected by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA). DOH-Bay's goal is to always protect patient privacy.


As of 10 a.m. today, there are currently 24 persons under investigation (PUIs) in Bay County including 22 residents and two non-residents. Eighteen tests are negative. Five tests are pending. One test is positive.


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


Additionally, DOH-Bay reached out to our partners Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center and Ascension Sacred Heart Bay for information on ICU beds and ventilators. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center reports they have 20 ICU beds, 28 NICU beds, and four PICU beds that they are licensed for by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), but they are prepared to go above those numbers if needed. Ascension Sacred Heart Bay has 42 ICU beds and 24 ventilators. At any time if either partner has additional needs, DOH-Bay will work with them to make requests to the State through the Emergency Support Function 8 (ESF 8), Health and Medical.



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.


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.


COVID-19 overview, symptoms, and general prevention


COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus; coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. Other coronaviruses include the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is believed to have emerged from an animal source and is now capable of spreading from person-to-person. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

For more Information on COVID-19

To find the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19  website. For information and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), please visit theCDC COVID-19 website. For more information about current travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State, please visit thetravel advisory website.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to


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.

Followus onFacebook, InstagramandTwitterat@HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit


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