Feb 29, 2020 - Health

Washington state officials confirm first coronavirus death in U.S.

A sign on a door of Jackson High School saying all sports events have been moved to a different school
School district officials have closed Jackson High School for three days of cleaning after a student, who did not recently travel to any countries affected the COVID-19, coronavirus, tested positive for the virus. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

A patient in Washington state has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, state health officials told reporters in call with the CDC on Saturday.

The latest: Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, public health officer for Seattle and King County, said the deceased patient was "a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions." State officials reported two new patients who are presumed to have contracted the coronavirus: a 70-year-old woman who is a resident of a long-term care facility and a 40-year-old female health care worker from the same facility with no known travel outside of the U.S.

  • The deceased patient was not associated with the Life Care Center of Kirkland that the other two newly announced cases are involved with, officials said

Why it matters: This marks the first virus-related death in the U.S. amid an outbreak that has exceeded 85,000 confirmed cases around the world.

What we know: There are now two additional presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Washington state, after state health officials identified on Friday a 50-year-old woman from King County and a person under the age of 18 in Snohomish County with no travel history who was infected by unknown means.

  • The two new patients announced on Saturday are currently hospitalized. The 70-year-old woman is in "serious condition," Duchin said, while the 40-year-old is in fair condition.
  • The 50-year-old woman had a travel history to Daegu, South Korea, and was under home isolation as of Friday, per state health officials.
  • The underage patient visited Seattle Children’s North Clinic on Monday, officials said, and the state health department is working to "ensure the safety of students and staff at Jackson High School, where this student attends."
  • Both patients identified on Friday were in home isolation, officials said.

What to watch: Duchin told reporters that there are more than 108 residents at the long-term care facility where the affected 70-year-old woman was staying, and 180 staff members. He said that approximately 25 staff members have exhibited symptoms including respiratory symptoms and pneumonia, while roughly 27 residents have done the same.

  • A CDC team will arrive at the facility on Saturday night to assess all staff and residents at the facility, he said.

The big picture: Four presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus were announced Friday evening across the western U.S., per the CDC. Three patients in California, Oregon and Washington state were infected by unknown means, the CDC said, while the fourth case was said to be likely travel related.

What they're saying: "Additional cases in the U.S. are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover and we think that will be a statement we can make with great surety now that we've gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus," Trump said at a White House press briefing on Saturday.

  • "There's no reason to panic, at all," he added.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper... Coronavirus updates: CDC monitoring 4 presumptive positive cases in western U.S.

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