The Florida Department of Health in Franklin County (FDOH-Franklin) reported Monday morning that two new positive cases of COVID-19 have emerged in Franklin County, brning the total to four.

The first case is a 65-year-old female Franklin County resident with close contact to a positive case who lives outside the county. The second case is a 75-year-old female Franklin County resident with close contact to a positive case inside the county.

"We are working closely with the patients, close contacts and healthcare providers to ensure proper precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus," said Sarah Hinds, administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Franklin and Gulf Counties.

While the health department has not provided further details, informed sources have said the two new cases are of individuals who reside in the Carrabelle area, and that they contracted the virus in connection with a church event. In addition, a fifth case has emerged of a Wakulla County resident who works on a regular basis in Carrabelle, they say.

Public health efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing the spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus. A technique called contact tracing, frequently used during such efforts, tracks and prevents the spread of disease by having infectious disease specialists work to find everyone who has been in contact with the positive case. Persons identified to be at-risk through the contact tracing process are interviewed, evaluated, and educated on their risk factors and what to do.

DOH-Franklin encourages our residents and visitors to continue to take the preventive steps to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. Everyone can do their part to help. Visitors to Franklin and Gulf are encouraged to get tested for COVID19 prior to coming.

"We will continue providing COVID19 testing for Franklin and Gulf residents as well as individuals from other counties and/or states," said Hinds. "That being said, if you suspect you might have COVID19, please do not travel here. Please get a COVID19 test (nasal swab for active infection) in your community and know your results before you arrive. Stay home when you are sick and follow CDC guidelines. Visitors are also responsible for helping to keep our communities safe and healthy."