The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States jumped by two dozen over the weekend after the first two deaths from the epidemic were confirmed.
The alarming new cases sparked new warnings and resulted in emergency declarations in at least two states. Some schools announced closures for cleaning this week in Seattle, Portland, and Rhode Island after speculations that there are positive cases linked to either staff or students.
Last Sunday, at least 18 new cases were reported across the country including the first two cases ever announced in Florida.
According to a statement from the Florida Department of Health, the cases involved an adult from Manatee County who tested positive but had no history of travel outside the United States, and a resident from Hillsborough County who tested positive from the virus and has a history of travel to Italy.
Both Florida residents were in self-quarantined as of Sunday night and will remain quarantined until they are cleared by health officials, the statement said.
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said in a statement that this is the scenario that needs daily preparation in public health.
“The Department is moving forward with the appropriate plans, and we are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local medical providers to ensure these individuals receive the proper treatment and that anyone who has come into contact with them is following the necessary protocols, limiting or stopping any further spread,” he added.
In Washington state, an emergency proclamation also was declared where both US deaths from the virus occurred. Jay Inslee, the Washington governor declared a state of emergency after the first death was confirmed on Saturday in King County.
The patient was a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions, Dr.Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County stated during a news conference last Saturday. He added that he and other health officials were made aware of the case last Friday.
The second death was a man in his 70s who suffered from underlying health conditions and died Saturday, as reported in a news release by Seattle & King County Public Health.
The New York Times reported Sunday the coronavirus might have been in Washington state for weeks, and up to 1,500 people might be infected.
Five new cases were announced in northern California on Sunday, three of them in Santa Clara County.
According to a news release from the Santa Clara Public Health Department, two patients were a husband and wife who had recently traveled to Egypt and one patient was a woman who had underlying health issues and was hospitalized.
The new cases brought the total number of cases in Santa Clara County to seven.
Meanwhile, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated Sunday night that a woman in her late 30s had been identified with a presumptive positive case of coronavirus in that state. The woman contracted the virus while she was traveling in Iran. According to a statement, she has respiratory symptoms but is not in serious condition.
The patient went to a hospital in Manhattan and remains quarantined in her Manhattan home, a New York State Department of Health spokesperson said.