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PANAMA CITY — Health officials confirmed two new COVID-19 cases in Bay County Tuesday evening, bringing the total up to three patients with the virus.
According to a Tuesday press release from the Department of Health in Bay County, the new patients are a 74-year-old woman and 55-year-old man, both county residents. The report comes after the county had its first reported case of COVID-19 from a Texas man on Saturday.
Details on the status of the three patients were unavailable on Wednesday due to federal medical confidentiality laws.
As of Wednesday afternoon, besides the three positive tests, the county had 41 negative cases and 5 pending cases of the virus.
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The county health department is conducting contact investigations and working on identifying and notifying individuals who will need to self-monitor for symptoms for a 14-day period.
"Contact investigations are the most critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease," Sandon Speedling, administrator for the Department of Health in Bay County, said in a Wednesday press conference on the virus.
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DOH-Bay has been monitoring COVID-19 since January and been in contact with Bay County EMA and medical providers to prepare response activities in the event there were cases in Bay.
The symptoms of COVID-19 can mirror illnesses such as influenza. Patients with COVID-19 typically display symptoms such as fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and/or shortness of breath within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus.
Approximately 80% of those affected with COVID-19 report mild to moderate illness and experience a complete recovery. Some experience more severe illness. People who are more vulnerable to the illness include individuals who are over age 65 with underlying health conditions, immunocompromised, ill or have underlying chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.
"We are asking people 65 or older to stay at home," said Heather Kretzer, spokeswoman for the county health department. "Ask for help from family or a friend to get you supplies if you need them."
Many cases of COVID-19 can be managed at home by treating symptoms, and this is encouraged. However, for residents who develop worsening symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or inability to drink fluids, contact 911 and advise them of your symptoms as you may need treatment at a hospital.
Residents can call the health department at 850-872-4455 or PanCare Health at 850-215-4181 if they believe they have symptoms of COVID-19.