Coronavirus Kills 2 Florida Patients

March 7, 2020 Updated: March 7, 2020

Two patients died from the new coronavirus, Florida officials announced late Friday.

Both patients were described as elderly and both are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling outside the country.

One patient lived in Santa Rosa County and the other lived in Lee County. The latter case was newly confirmed.

Officials also said two people, a 65-year-old man and a 75-year-old man, in Broward County tested positive for the new virus. Both were already isolated and will continue to be isolated until they’re cleared by public health officials, the state Department of Health said in a press release.

The department urged anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and any other destination under a federal travel advisory, should stay at home and call their doctor or health authorities.

People who have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case should also call their doctor or health authorities. People should mention their recent travel or close contact.

Epoch Times Photo
A man wearing a mask walks in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on March 6, 2020. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

Officials previously said five patients tested positive for the new virus in Florida, including an adult in Hillsborough County who recently traveled to Italy and a non-Florida resident.

Another five patients who were repatriated to the United States from China or Japan have tested positive elsewhere in the country. Those groups were being held at military bases in California, Texas, or Nebraska.

Nearly 200 people have been tested so far in the state, with 100 testing negative and 88 results pending. Officials are monitoring 278 people and 1,010 people have been monitored to date.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency because of the new virus on March 2. He asked state lawmakers for $25 million to respond to the spread of the virus and said he expects to receive at least $27 million from the federal government.

The deaths bring the U.S. death toll to 16, with all but the two Florida deaths and one death in California taking place in Washington state.

Symptoms of the new virus are similar to the flu and around 80 percent of patients show no, mild, or moderate symptoms, according to health experts. The other patients require hospitalization, with some requiring intensive care.

There is currently no vaccine or proven treatment for the new virus, which causes a disease called COVID-19.

Experts say ways to avoid getting the virus include frequently washing hands, avoiding sick people, and not touching one’s nose, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands.

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