The Florida Department of Health now reports there are reported 74 COVID-19 cases in Osceola County as of Saturday evening, up from 45 Thursday night. There are 20 hospitalized for the virus locally, but thankfully the county has not yet reported any coronavirus-related deaths.

A significant percentage of the cases report mild symptoms, but it is the severe cases that are taxing the hospital and care system. Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. And since they appear so long after being exposed, it explains the recommendation to practice social distancing and avoid contact like handshakes, hugs, close quarters and gatherings over 10 people.

There are emergency warning signs for COVID-19 that warrant immediate medical attention. The list includes trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, the inability to wake from sleep or bluish lips. (This isn’t a complete list.)

Call your health care provider or the Osceola Health Department (407-343-2000) if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and returned from international travel or a cruise in the last 14 days. The Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour information call center is available at 866-779-6121.

You are reminded that Osceola County is under a “Stay At Home” declaration, prohibiting travel unless it is to get groceries or take-out meals, or travel to work if you are in an essential industry. This is the best way to limit or reduce the spread of the virus.