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WA Gov. Inslee declares state of emergency due to coronavirus cases

Tourists, some wearing a mask, queue to enter the Louvre museum Friday in Paris. The world is scrambling to get on top of the new coronavirus outbreak that has spread from its epicenter in China to most corners of the planet. (Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Assoociated Press/TNS)

Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday declared a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The nation’s first confirmed case of coronavirus was reported in Washington in January and the illness’ first U.S. death was also in the state and reported Saturday, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The emergency proclamation directs state agencies and departments to “utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases,” according to the release.

Under the state of emergency, the Washington National Guard could also be deployed, according to the release.

As of Saturday afternoon, 37 people in Washington had been tested for COVID-19 with three positive results, according to the Washington State Department of Health’s website.

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The department announced last week that an in-state lab now has the ability to test for the illness, which should expedite results, according to the press release.

No cases of the illness have been reported in North Central Washington, but local agencies are coordinating response plans. Confluence Health and the Chelan-Douglas Health District will hold a tabletop drill on Friday.

For more information on COVID-19, including symptoms and preventative measures, visit the State Department of Health’s website.

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©2020 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.