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California announces first coronavirus death

Samuel Gutner, a superior of the biocontainment unit watches lead clinical nurse Madeleine Steinberg rub hand sanitizer on her outer set of gloves which are sealed with tape as medical staff train at Johns Hopkins Hospital. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS)
March 04, 2020

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

California announced its first coronavirus-related death Wednesday in Placer County.

The deceased patient was described as an elderly individual with underlying health conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times. California health officials indicated the patient likely contracted the illness, designated COVID-19, while onboard a recent cruise to Mexico.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said. “While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see.”

Sisson indicated that while most coronavirus cases exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, the virus is particularly dangerous for elderly patients and those with underlying health conditions.

The first U.S. coronavirus deaths were reported over the weekend in Washington state. 10 deaths have already occurred in Washington and the and the latest case in California marks the 11th death overall in the U.S., according to the New York Times.

The latest numbers from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate the U.S. has seen 80 coronavirus cases overall in 13 states. The CDC’s number do not appear to reflect the latest deaths as the agency revises its numbers daily around noon and the newest deaths appear to have been reported after that window.

Los Angeles County also declared a health emergency Wednesday as the total number of coronavirus cases in the county reached seven.

The New York Times further reports more than 95,000 coronavirus cases worldwide and at least 3,245 deaths from the illness. The large majority of cases and deaths have occurred in China, where the virus first emerged. The New York Times lists at least 107 deaths in Italy, 92 in Iran, 35 in South Korea, eight in Japan, four in France and one in Spain. The paper’s coronavirus tracker also does not appear to list the two latest deaths in the U.S.