Aubrey Holland performs tests at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Miami, where the COVID-19 virus is being tested.

Aubrey Holland performs tests at the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Miami, where the COVID-19 virus is being tested.    

Senate President Bill Galvano said he expects Florida's Department of Health to submit a request this week for emergency funding to bolster its

efforts in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

Congress is expected to pass a $7.5 billion bipartisan emergency bill to fund the nation’s response to

the coronavirus outbreak by week’s end.

The snag in adopting the measure was over a demand by Democrats to guarantee low prices for a coronavirus vaccine that’s being developed with taxpayer funding. Republicans said existing

language is sufficient to deter price gouging and warned further stipulations could delay production of a vaccine.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio expressed frustration about delays in the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) release of test kits in adequate numbers to meet demand.

“I wish we were a week earlier on producing these tests. Perhaps that’s a valid criticism,” Rubio said

On mid-morning Wednesday, the

Department of Health website dedicated to coronavirus information and updates listed two confirmed positive and one presumptively positive cases of COVID-19 in Florida.

The site lists the number of pending testing results as 16, the number of

negative testing results as 24 and the number of people under public health monitoring at 247 – the same numbers posted Tuesday afternoon.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he spent much of Tuesday on conference calls with nursing home and assisted living facility providers “issuing guidance” and ensuring staff understands it “should not be having people entering those facilities who are exhibiting any types of symptoms.”

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus and is more dangerous for elderly populations. All nine COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have

occurred in Washington state, including four connected to a nursing home in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb. More than 160,000 Floridians live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,

including 71,000 seniors in more than 700 nursing homes.

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