Florida health officials announced Friday night that two people had died from coronavirus, raising the U.S. death toll from the virus to at least 17.
The deaths in Florida are the first ones reported on the East Coast. Previously, Washington state and California were the only two to have reported fatalities.
Officials in Florida said that the two deaths were in Lee County, home to Fort Myers, and in Santa Rosa County, near Pensacola.
Both individuals were reportedly in their 70s and had recently returned from traveling abroad.
The Florida Department of Health said Friday night that six Florida residents have tested presumptively positive for coronavirus.
.@HealthyFla has announced 3 new presumptive positive Florida #COVID19 cases: 2 in Broward County that are isolated and 1 in Lee County that is deceased. A previously-announced case in Santa Rosa County is also deceased. For #COVID19 updates, visit https://t.co/e1S8bGG26U
— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) March 7, 2020
More than 300 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., while more than 100,000 cases have been reported worldwide.
The vast majority of cases internationally have come from mainland China, where the outbreak began. Italy, South Korea and Iran have also been hit hard by the virus, with each of the countries reporting thousands of cases.
Washington state continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., with at least 14 deaths in the state alone.
Multiple schools around the Seattle area have canceled classes for the following weeks and on Friday the University of Washington – which has a student population of over 50,000 – announced that it would be closing its classrooms and conducting classes remotely.
Also on Friday, Vice President Pence said that 21 individuals on a cruise ship off the coast of California tested positive for the virus and they would be brought stateside this weekend and quarantined accordingly.