Patient tested for coronavirus in Fort Walton

A patient exhibiting flu-like symptoms at a medical center in Fort Walton Beach today has been tested for COVID-19, better known as coronavirus. 

According to a press release, White-Wilson Medical Center elected to temporarily close its Fort Walton Beach Immediate Care department to patients for several hours.

An individual entered the department who had traveled internationally and was experiencing flu-like symptoms. White-Wilson staff implemented a series of protocols to ensure proper evaluation of the patient and limit potential exposure to others.

The Florida Department of Health was contacted and the patient has been tested for the virus said White-Wilson representative Leslie Moland. 

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida. The health department’s data is listed current as of Tuesday.   

The medical office reopened at 2 p.m. today. All other locations and departments remained open, and patients seeking immediate care were directed to other White-Wilson departments. This action was taken as a precautionary measure the press release said.

“The wellness of our patients, staff and community is our top priority, and we will continue to take all necessary precautions,” stated Mark Wiacek, Chief Operations Officer.

Immediate Care physician Dr. Chinh Vien Van said the closure and actions were done “in an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.”

This strand of coronavirus has spread rapidly across China and into other countries, prompting quarantines and travel bans on the international stage. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports 14 cases of the disease in the U.S., nearly all of which are travel-related. 

Per health officials, international travelers exhibiting flu-like symptoms are advised to contact their local health department (850-934-4074 in Santa Rosa County) or their primary care physicians.

Moland said those in need of medical care should seek treatment at an emergency room due to these facilities being better equipped for these types of contagious patients.  



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