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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Mar. 20, 2020 2 weeks ago

Ormond Beach resident tests positive for COVID-19 while in Flagler County

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Cynthia Corsentino is being treated in the ICU at AdventHealth Palm Coast.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Updated 8:13 a.m. March 21.

A Volusia County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 is being treated in the intensive care unit at AdventHealth Palm Coast.

Cynthia Corsentino, 48 and a resident of Ormond Beach, said in an interview aired on Flagler Broadcasting's "Free For All Friday" radio show on March 20 that she'd been tested on Saturday, March 14, and results came back the next day. 

The Florida Department of Health had not initially released information that a person was being treated for COVID-19 in Flagler County because the state has been categorizing Florida resident cases by the county in which the residents live, not the one in which they're being treated. The DOH made the decision to tell the community that a patient is being treated at AdventHealth Palm Coast after Corsentino shared that information in a public post on Facebook that rapidly circulated through the community, prompting questions about why the state was saying there were no Flagler cases.

Corsentino said she is a single mom who is on the road a lot for work.

"When I got sick, it happened very quickly," Corsentino said — first sniffles and a runny nose, then a fever that spiked to 104 degrees.

She tried to get tested, but medical personnel at first told her she didn't meet the CDC criteria.

"I was told repeatedly if I had not traveled internationally … that I had no reason to be concerned that this was anything more than a flu bug," she said. "They kept saying that they wouldn't test me, but I went to the urgent care clinic here in Palm Coast, and they sent me over to the ER immediately because my lungs were so poorly performing at that time, and they did a test at the ER and put me inpatient immediately."

Her children, who attend Buddy Taylor Middle School and Flagler Palm Coast High School, have still not been tested, she said, nor has their 70-year-old babysitter. They've been told to wait for symptoms.

However, Florida Department of Health-Flagler Administrator Bob Snyder said the protocol is for Volusia's public health officials to begin "contact tracing," which means they would examine everyone with whom the COVID-19 patient has been in close contact. He said he would contact the Volusia DOH to understand why it had apparently not been happening.

At the hospital, Corsentino said, she was tested and placed on oxygen therapy and a number of antiviral and antibiotic medications. Her lungs are being X-rayed regularly.

"Apparently I came close to needing a ventilator, but thank goodness, that was not necessary," she said.

The ICU nurses, who she said "have really been amazing," initially minimized contact with her, she said, to protect themselves from exposure. She's not allowed any visitors, including family.

Now, she said, her lungs seem to be clearing up.

She said residents may need to "advocate a little bit more aggressively" for themselves if they're feeling serious symptoms.

"You know your body; I knew I was sick," she said. "I've never had 104 fevers in my life, and I just kept doing what they said and stayed home and tried to medicate with over-the-counter meds and stuff and — I would hate for someone else who maybe is older, or not as healthy, to take the wrong advice and not get treated and not get tested in a more aggressive fashion."

Snyder, speaking on the radio show, said the lack of testing has been a "supply issue," but that criteria are becoming less restrictive as tests become more available. 

The Florida Department of Health-Flagler got its first shipment of 100 test sampling kits on Thursday, March 19, he said. 

"I think this was an opportunity for the protocol to change, relative to now indicating whether we have a positive case diagnosed and treated in the county, and yet they don’t live in that county," Snyder said. "We are capturing non-Florida residents — snowbirds, for example, who are staying in County A for three-to-four months, they are then listed in the county if if they come down with positive COVID-19. So, things are changing now, hopefully for the better."

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