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Staffer for Florida congressman dies of COVID-19

Trump cancels RNC in Florida
Trump cancels RNC in Florida 12:43

Congressman Vern Buchanan announced that longtime staffer, Gary Tibbetts, died of COVID-19 on Friday. Buchanan is a Republican congressman from Florida, which has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

"Devastated by the death of my longtime staffer Gary Tibbetts, who passed away today at Manatee Memorial Hospital from COVID-19," Buchanan said in a statement posted to Twitter. "Gary was the consummate professional and a true public servant in every sense of the word."

This is the first time a congressional staffer has been confirmed to have died of the virus.

Buchanan had announced on July 15 by tweet that Tibbetts had been hospitalized. Tibbetts, who had worked for Buchanan as a special assistant and field representative since 2011, was also a retired Manchester, New Hampshire, police sergeant, according to a social media profile.

There are nearly 400,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Florida, with over 5,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Trump announced on Thursday that the portion of the Republican National Convention which was to be held in Jacksonville next month would be canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 4 million on Thursday. A million of those cases were reported in roughly the last two weeks.

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