State data shows coronavirus cases as early as January in Florida

Florida Health Department data shows that 171 people had coronavirus symptoms or had tested positive for COVID-19 in the months before cases were publicly announced, according to a Palm Beach Post report. 

The Post analyzed state data, which was removed from the health department's website May 4 without explanation. The newspaper had previously downloaded and retained the data.

The data showed that 171 people were either showing symptoms or had tested positive for the new virus in January and February. Florida officially announced its first presumed cases of coronavirus March 1.

It is unclear whether the patients reported their coronavirus symptoms to the state later or if the health department's local offices were actively investigating COVID-19 at the time, or both, according to the Post.

Of the 171 people, 105 were women and 66 were men. Most of these early patients hadn't traveled, and none reported going to China, the Post reports.


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