FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is seen at a news briefing in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(Reuters) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced there were two more confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected patients in the state to 13.
De Blasio said in a string of Twitter posts that neither of the latest patients, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s, had a connection “to travel nor any of the other local individuals diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Both were hospitalized in intensive care units, the mayor said.
De Blasio urged the CDC to increase the supply of test kits and expedite the approval of testing by private companies.
“Our single greatest challenge is the lack of fast federal action to increase testing capacity — without that, we cannot beat this epidemic back,” he said.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus stood at 11 as of Wednesday, as new cases emerged around New York City and Los Angeles, and Seattle-area health officials discouraged social gatherings to limit the disease’s spread.
Hours after the first California death was reported on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency in response to the outbreak, which he said has resulted in 53 cases across the nation’s most populous state.
Meanwhile, an ocean liner, that previously carried two passengers who contracted the coronavirus, was barred from returning to its home port of San Francisco from Hawaii after at least 20 people aboard fell ill.
Reporting by Maria Caspani, Editing by Bernadette Baum