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Coronavirus Florida: Doctor who diagnosed Manatee County coronavirus case quarantined

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
Walton Sun

SARASOTA — A Sarasota doctor who diagnosed a Manatee County resident with coronavirus quarantined himself after he met with the patient, according to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Manuel Gordillo is one of 15 consulting physicians and advanced practitioners at Infectious Disease Associates in Sarasota who provide inpatient and outpatient consultations, diagnosis and treatment at four hospitals in the Sarasota-Manatee region. He has not left home since Saturday night.

On Thursday, he was asked to evaluate a patient at Doctor’s Hospital who later tested positive for coronavirus, also called COVID-19. He received official notice of his quarantine status from the Center for Disease Control on Tuesday but has been self-quarantined as a precaution since receiving news last weekend that the patient’s preliminary test came back positive.

Gov. Ron DeSantis reported a man from Manatee County in his 60s and another woman from Hillsborough County in her 20s were Florida’s first coronavirus cases. It was confirmed Monday by CDC.

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There are more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. There have been 11 deaths in the U.S. and over 3,000 worldwide.

The Florida Department of Health has reported two confirmed cases, and two “presumptively positive“ test results.

An individual at Dr. Gordillo’s office said he was unavailable to comment.

Doctor’s Hospital also released its first public statement Wednesday.

social media Sunday, advising patients and staff that the facility admitted an individual who was “presumptively positive” for coronavirus.

Doctor’s Hospital immediately activated all protocols for handling coronavirus cases, including “immediate isolation,” according to the letter, noting that all “exposed employees and providers have been identified and the hospital is communicating with them to answer their questions and provide additional information.”

Monica Yadav, spokeswoman for Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota, addressed the letter Wednesday, saying that the hospital considered patient and staff needs first. She pointed out that federal health care privacy laws kept them from discussing patient care.

A news release said Dr. Gordillo continues to monitor the care of patients and serve as a medical director for Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control Team. He has no symptoms and said there is no risk to others that he may have come into contact with on Friday or Saturday.

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Gordillo will remain in quarantine for the duration of the virus’ incubation period, through March 12, the news release said.

Doctor’s Hospital CEO Robert Meade said the hospital treats infectious diseases everyday and has reinforced infection prevention protocols, as well as coronavirus, guidelines.

On Feb. 28, the hospital said the Center for Disease Control changed its guidance regarding coronavirus — criteria for persons under investigation — that allowed an inpatient to be tested.

An established coronavirus plan was put into effect, Meade said.

The state lab returned a “presumptive positive” on Feb. 29 and the hospital notified individuals who may have been in contact with the patient and put employees on leave, in accordance with rules provided by the Florida Department of Health.

"Equally important, we transparently informed all patients and staff through written documents about the presence of a patient with COVID-19, and in an abundance of caution, we suspended elective procedures,“ Meade stated. ”The CDC informed the hospital of the confirmed positive test on Monday, March 2nd.“

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Doctor’s Hospital has resumed all elective procedures and are admitting new patients to the hospital and the emergency room is open, Meade said in the statement.

“We are terminally cleaning the entire hospital continuously by using anti-microbial disinfectant on every surface in the hospital, both clinical and public spaces,” Meade wrote. “We continue to work closely with the department of health and the CDC to ensure that we are taking appropriate precautions on behalf of our patients, caregivers, and the community.”

All patients and visitors at Doctor’s Hospital Wednesday were greeted by staff at the entrance who asked if they have recently been outside the country, the nature of their visit, and whether they were exhibiting respiratory symptoms.

Masks, tissues and hand sanitizer was positioned inside the doorway along with information about coronavirus and influenza, a more common illness this time of year.

There have been 64 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. — two confirmed cases were reported in Florida, a man Manatee County, who is in his 60s, and a woman from Hillsborough County, who is in her 20s.

Results of a third presumptively positive case — a woman who lives with the Hillsborough woman who recently traveled from Italy — are pending confirmation.

It is unknown how the Manatee County man contracted the illness.

Save says Gordillo has been asked not to go out in public but remains in contact with the hospital.

“He’s working hard at home to help us cover our bases and guide us,” Savage said. “He’s got 15 people in his practice who are also infectious disease specialists. He can go places if there are no people around. He has a wife who is staying with a relative and is bringing him food.”

Gordillo is participating in hospital meetings using a video-conferencing app on his phone.

SMH is awaiting the result of at least a dozen patients who are being tested for the coronavirus. They are expecting some of the results Wednesday afternoon, Savage said. The hospital is reviewing response plans in case they have “presumptive positives.”

Local health care facilities have advised patients if they have severe respiratory symptoms to call the hospitals, urgent care or health care provider before coming to clinics or emergency rooms. If they are having moderate symptoms a doctor will ask them to stay home, take their temperature and report if they have worsening symptoms.

Coronavirus symptoms typically last three to five days, Savage said.

“If they are at higher risk for any reason, they have asthma or pulmonary positions they may be asked to come in and see a doctor,” Savage says. “People who are typically in a self-quarantine, it’s no different if they are at home with a bad flu. Take acetaminophen and drink plenty of water.”

Patients with moderate symptoms can safely stay at home and monitor themselves.

The Florida Department of Health website shows that there are no new cases of coronavirus statewide. There are 16 pending test results, 24 negative test results and 247 people under public health care monitoring.

The virus has affected 82 countries with the most cases in China (80,304), Republic of Korea (4,812), Italy (2,036), and Iran (523). China has had 2,946 deaths, while nine people have died in Washington State.

This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.