Sarasota Memorial sent the first batch of patient samples to a state lab for coronavirus testing Monday and received the results Wednesday evening.

The first group of Sarasota Memorial Hospital patients tested for coronavirus do not have the disease, hospital officials said Thursday.


Sarasota Memorial sent the first batch of samples from 14 patients to a state lab for coronavirus testing Monday and received the results Wednesday evening.


“We are happy to report that the results we have received to date have been negative, but there are many viruses circulating this time of year and many more tests that will be run,” Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder said in a press release. “We have to remain vigilant and prepared for that to change.”


Some coronavirus test results for Sarasota Memorial patients are still pending.


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“SMH continues to treat a high volume of patients presenting with respiratory illness, and submit additional samples for testing, but does not currently have any presumptive or confirmed cases,” the press release states.


Sarasota Memorial is testing patients for coronavirus after ruling out other possible causes for their respiratory illness, such as the flu.


“Those who come to the hospital and meet CDC criteria for possible COVID-19 coronavirus are put in isolation and treated with all necessary precautions while the hospital completes a battery of tests to rule out flu and other viruses,” the release states. “If those results are negative, state health officials test the samples for COVID-19 at state-run labs in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami.”


Read more: Unlike the flu, coronavirus doesn't have a season


The Florida Department of Health announced the first two cases of coronavirus in the state on Sunday, including an individual who was treated at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. Another two cases have been confirmed in the state since then, with Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing the latest case - an elderly man in the Panhandle - on Thursday.


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