Patients at Baptist Health South Florida have undergone testing for coronavirus but none have come back positive, hospital officials said Wednesday.
"Over the course of a couple weeks we have patients that have been tested but none were positive," said Dr. John Braden, director for emergency preparedness for Baptist Health.
The Florida Department of Health performs the testing, and sends test kits to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
Braden and other hospital officials held a panel discussion Wednesday morning to discuss the steps the health system has been taking to screen patients for possible COVID-19.
Officials said the health system has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, and no cases have been confirmed in South Florida. Two people have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida, and another person was a "preumptive positive" for the virus, according to the Florida Department of Health. The cases are out of Hillsborough and Manatee counties.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that a 50-year-old attorney who lives in Westchester County and works in Manhattan that tested positive for coronavirus had traveled to Miami, but it was unknown when the man had visited South Florida. Health officials are testing relatives and working to backtrace any other contacts for risk, Cuomo said.
Braden said Baptist Health has a screening process that identifies and isolates patients who meet the criteria for possible coronavirus. A number of factors determine whether a patient will be kept at the hospital or in isolation at home.
"It's a combination of travel and exposure, two cases and areas of concern, and clinical features, whether they have a cough, fever," Braden said. "If they're well, walking around, and they're eating and able to keep foods and fluids down, then they're a good candidate to go home."
Braden said it's possible that the virus could abate during the summer, and said he's hopeful a vaccine cane be developed.
"We have a lot of people concerned so we're doing a lot of education," Braden said.