Florida's Department of Health says two people have died of swine flu, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to nine.
Officials say a 51-year-old male and a 53-year-old female from Miami-Dade County died Thursday. Florida has 1,783 confirmed cases of swine flu. A spokeswoman from the state health department says pre-existing health conditions often play a role in how people react to the flu.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to their families and friends for their loss. We all need to follow the recommended precautions to avoid spreading infection," said Lillian Rivera of the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
The deaths come as health officials gear up for what is expected to be a very busy flu season. Clinics are stocking up on vaccines and anti-biotics to both treat and prevent the spread of other strands of flu along with the H1N1 virus.
Federal officials announced Friday the availability of $20,823,635 in grants to help Florida prepare for the 2009 fall flu season. Florida is eligible to receive $15,474,914 in Public Health Emergency Response grants and $5,348,721 in Hospital Preparedness grants.