Palatka man dies from COVID-19 complications


A 54-year-old Palatka man died early this morning from complications of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.
Mary Garcia, administrator for the Department of Health in Putnam County confirmed the case in an email. She said the man had been hospitalized and the case was not travel related.

"It is with great sadness that I have to report that a 54-year-old Palatka man, who was hospitalized, has died early this morning due to complications of COVID-19," Garcia said. "This case was not travel related.

"I cannot express how important it is to self-isolate. How important it is to call your provider if your symptoms worsen."

The man is the first reported death in Putnam County related to the coronavirus. In the latest report from the Department of Health, the county had 14 reported cases.

The man was not hospitalized at Putnam Community Medical Center, hospital CEO Mark Dooley said in an email to the Daily News.

The Department of Health reported today that there are 9,585 COVID-19 cases in Florida, with 163 deaths reported.

In Putnam County, the Department of Health reports 405 people have been tested; 386 tests were negative with five pending. Four people have been tested at Putnam Community Medical Center. Dooley said the hospital has had no inpatients at Putnam test positive.

According to the Department of Health, eight of the 14 county cases were in Interlachen, five in Palatka and one in Crescent City.

Garcia stressed the importance of social distancing and isolation for any individual who thinks they might have symptoms.

"We know we want to be with our family members, and at the same time we really need to do the right thing," Garcia said. "That is to make sure that individual who thinks they're sick or feeling sick isolate. If their symptoms change, they should call their doctor."

Garcia said two people who had earlier tested positive had been cleared from symptoms, but were still being monitored. She said anyone displaying any one of three symptoms - fever, cough or respiratory problems - should immediately contact the call center. The Putnam County call center can be reached at 329-1904.

"If you call the call center if you've got symptoms, then you need to do the right thing and isolate," Garcia said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis statewide stay-at-home order went into effect at 12:01 this morning.

CLICK HERE to view the governor's order.