UF Health Leesburg Hospital announces first confirmed COVID-19 patient

As cases of COVID-19 — the novel 2019 coronavirus — continue to increase throughout Central Florida, many area residents are concerned and have questions about the situation unfolding in Lake and Sumter counties with confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Lake County several days ago.

“This morning we learned we have our first confirmed case of COVID-19 at UF Health Leesburg Hospital,” said Don Henderson, CEO of UF Health Central Florida. Per a Florida Department of Health release, the individual is a resident of Sumter County. The Florida Department of Health is taking the lead on the epidemiological investigation.

“Once we started seeing COVID-19 appear in the U.S., our health care teams immediately worked to put screening criteria and protocols in place to identify patients who should be tested,” said David Berger, M.D., chief operating officer and interim chief medical officer for UF Health Central Florida. “We follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the Florida Department of Health for the identification and management of any patient who meets CDC screening criteria.” This criteria currently includes symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), travel from most of Europe, China, Iran, Japan, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as South Korea since March 6, 2020, or close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from these countries. This also includes anyone experiencing symptoms who has been on a cruise since March 6.

“At UF Health, the safety and well-being of our patients, visitors, physicians, staff and volunteers is a top priority,” continued Henderson. “We are well-prepared to address potential cases of COVID-19 and follow robust infection prevention and control protocols to protect our patients and our caregivers from this and other infectious diseases. We would like to thank our dedicated staff, physicians and volunteers for their extraordinary efforts during this unprecedented time.”