Another American has died from coronavirus, marking the second coronavirus death in the United States.
The death occurred in Washington state on Sunday, and involved a man in his 70s who had underlying health issues, according to Washington state public health officials.
Both of the first two U.S. deaths occurred in Washington’s King County, where 8 other cases have been confirmed. The first U.S. death was confirmed on Saturday, and involved a man in his 50s, also with underlying health conditions. He was a “presumptive positive” test result that had only been reported to the CDC on Friday.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health, Seattle & King County, said on Saturday that the state is investigating the first man’s death to determine “potential exposures the patient may have had.” He added that they currently have no links to affected individuals.
It’s not yet clear how the second man who died became infected with the virus.
Some of the confirmed cases in King County have been traced to the Life Care long-term care facility in Kirkland, Wash.
As of Saturday, 27 residents and 25 staff members of the facility had begun showing symptoms of coronavirus. An employee with no known travel to a risk area and a resident of the facility were among the first to test as “presumptive positive” from the facility.
“We are very concerned about an outbreak in a setting with older people,” Duchin said, adding that those most susceptible include older adults and adults with underlying chronic conditions whose immune systems are weakened.
State health officials and the CDC both said they expect to see additional cases – especially in King County, Wash. – but maintain that the risk to the American public remains low.
Washington state has 11 additional positive cases of coronavirus in King and Snohomish counties. Another 231 are undergoing public health monitoring.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have continued to increase slowly. Rhode Island and New York also confirmed their first positive coronavirus cases over the weekend.