Coronavirus: First US death reported in Washington state, according to officials

The person died in King County, Washington, the state’s Department of Health said. More information was expected at a press conference at 1 p.m PT.

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Santa Clara County Public Health Department Director Dr. Sara Cody speaks during a news conference in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

AP

A person has died from the new coronavirus in Washington state, the first death from the virus in the U.S., health officials confirmed Saturday.

The person died in King County, Washington, the state’s Department of Health said. More information was expected at a press conference at 1 p.m PT.

Meanwhile, health officials in California, Oregon and Washington state reported four new apparent cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, raising concerns that it is spreading through West Coast communities.

Authorities said three of the cases – an older Northern California woman with chronic health conditions, a high school student in Everett, Washington, and an employee at a Portland, Oregon-area school – had not recently traveled overseas or had any known close contact with a traveler or an infected person.

In addition, Washington health officials said a woman in her 50s in King County tested positive for the virus after traveling to Daegu, South Korea, the site of a major coronavirus outbreak. She was being treated in home isolation.

Both cases in Washington were treated as “presumptive positives,” meaning they had not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The emergence of the San Jose, California, patient “indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

“This case does signal to us that it’s now time to shift how we respond to the novel coronavirus,” she said.

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