A 74-year-old male resident is the county’s first COVID-19-related death, the Florida Department of Health in Jackson County (DOH-Jackson) announced Friday.

“We regret any loss of life related to COVID-19,” Jackson County Health Officer Sandy Martin said.

“As the State of Florida begins the process of re-opening, it is important to stay vigilant in protecting your loved ones and yourself against contracting the virus.

“Please continue to follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, hand hygiene and disinfection of surfaces.

“If you are sick, stay home from work. If you have been asked to socially isolate due to an exposure to someone who has tested positive or because you have tested positive yourself, please continue to do so until instructed otherwise by public health officials,” Martin said.

“By working together, we can prevent the spread of the virus and prevent further loss of life.”

DOH-Jackson reports that, as of Friday evening, there are 248 total positive cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County — 53 are associated with long-term care facilities and 151 are associated with the Florida Department of Corrections.

County health officials say DOH-Jackson is currently conducting contact investigations and working to identify and notify individuals who will need COVID-19 testing and public health monitoring, adding that “contact investigations are a critical way for staff epidemiologists to track and prevent the spread of disease.”

More information about the 2019 coronavirus disease can be found at floridahealthcovid19.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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