The 55-year-old Nokomis woman was a passenger on the same flight from New York to Tampa that included one of the first two positive COVID-19 cases in Florida.

SARASOTA — The state’s first resident diagnosed with COVID-19 has been discharged from the Sarasota Hospital that treated him, Doctors Hospital announced Friday.


"To put patient and caregiver safety first, the hospital closed the Operating Rooms for elective procedures for three days and returned to full operations on March Wednesday, " the hospital stated in a news release late Friday afternoon.


In addition, the hospital said, following federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines, "certain employees were furloughed with full pay for scheduled shifts.


"We continue to work closely with the department of health and the CDC to ensure we are taking appropriate precautions for our patients, caregivers, and the community," the statement added.


Details about the patient have not been released, other than that it was a 60-year-old Manatee County resident. State and hospital officials learned Saturday evening that the test had been positive for the virus, but did not announce it publicly until Sunday night, when a second resident in Hillsborough County was also identified as having the virus.


Meanwhile, a 55-year old Nokomis woman was told to self-quarantine Tuesday, after she flew on a flight with a passenger who had the disease, according to the Tampa Bay Times.


Julia Nemeth-Harn took issue with the fact that she was informed by the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County two days after Florida officials received the state’s first positive test for COVID-19.


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Nemeth-Harn was a passenger on a Delta Airlines flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Tampa, on Feb. 26, while returning from a ski trip in Maine.


Nemeth-Harn told the Times that she was displeased with the delay in being informed.


State officials knew about the positive test on Feb. 29.


Nemeth-Harn told the Times she was frustrated by the response both by the local health department — she was promised a follow-up email after she was called and that never came — and a subsequent email response from the health department that incorrectly listed her as having traveled from Italy.


Meanwhile a friend from Pinellas County who was on that same flight was not told by the Pinellas branch of the health department that she needed to self-quarantine.


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Nemeth and her husband have stayed at home since the quarantine.


Steve Huard, a spokesman for the health department in Sarasota, confirmed in an email Friday that the department has contacted and is monitoring, "individuals that were determined to be at risk because of a flight related contact."


While Huard noted that the department could not go into detail, in general individuals who had been exposed to COVID-19 through airplane travel would be classified as "medium or low risk."


Medium risk travelers, who sat within six feet of the confirmed case, would be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.


Low risk travelers, who were outside of that radius, would also be contacted by the local health department but not asked to self-quarantine.


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Huard added that no individuals being monitored by the health department because of travel exposure are currently ill.


Meanwhile, Sarasota Memorial Health System is continuing to test and treat people for respiratory viruses that circulate this time of year, according to a hospital spokeswoman.


The hospital is submitting samples to state-run labs for anyone who tests negative for flu and other viruses and meets CDC criteria for COVID-19 testing. All state-run tests that have been returned to us to date are negative.


The hospital will only update results if it receives a presumptive positive or positive case.


The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County has opened up a phone line at 941-242-6649 for anyone who suspects they may have the coronavirus, and urges them to call that number prior to visiting a health care provider.


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