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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The first person known to have the novel coronavirus when they died was killed by a heart attack "due to COVID-19 infection," autopsy results obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday show.

Why it matters: The patient, 57-year-old Patricia Dowd, from Santa Clara County, California, died on Feb. 6. The first known death from COVID-19 in the U.S. was previously declared on Feb. 29 to be a patient in Washington state.

  • Santa Clara County executive Jeff Smith said the origins of the case, along with two others in the county on Feb. 17 and March 6, were "believed to be within the community," suggesting transmission occurred much earlier than previously thought, according to the Mercury News.

What's new: Per the autopsy report, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was found in Dowd's heart, trachea, lungs and intestines and she reported "flu-like symptoms" in the days leading up to her death.

  • She had a mildly enlarged heart but no coronary heart disease nor clotting that would have triggered a heart attack, the autopsy states. Blood had collected in the sac around her heart, which led to pressure on the organ that caused it to rupture.

What they're saying: Santa Clara County Public Health announced in a statement last Tuesday the February deaths occurred at home "during a time when very limited testing was available only through the CDC."

  • "Testing criteria set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms," the statement added.
  • "As the Medical Examiner-Coroner continues to carefully investigate deaths throughout the county, we anticipate additional deaths from COVID-19 will be identified."

Of note: Clinicians are finding evidence that the virus not only affects the lungs, it also may be causing acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, heart inflammation, blood clots, liver problems and intestinal damage, the Washington Post reported this month.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Aug 3, 2020 - Technology

San Jose makes 11,000 WiFi hotspots available for students

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Monday announced a deal with AT&T to make 11,000 4G hotspots available to keep students and families connected when schools begin virtually this fall.

Why it matters: Like other school districts, Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley will stick with remote learning for the foreseeable future as COVID-19 cases surge in California. Students without broadband access will not be able to keep up with all-online classes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.