Two people have died in Florida of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as cases of the virus spread across the country.
The deaths, which were announced on Friday night by the state’s Department of Health, mark the first coronavirus-related deaths outside of the west coast, where California and Washington state have both reported fatalities. The death toll in the United States is now up to 17, according to The New York Times.
According to the Times, both of the individuals who died in Florida had recently traveled internationally.
As of Saturday, there are 340 confirmed cases throughout the U.S. However, experts believe the number of cases is actually much higher, and the widespread lack of testing kits has stopped people from getting checked for the virus.
On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence, who was appointed by President Donald Trump as the coronavirus task force leader, said the U.S. would not be able to reach its previously promised goal of testing around one million Americans this week.
“We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Pence said at a press conference, according to CNN.
Pence said they are able to test “those that we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms,” but they do not yet have enough to meet his earlier promise that “any American can be tested.”
As the virus spreads across the country, many large-scale events and festivals have been canceled in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, including the annual South by Southwest festival (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas, and Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.