One person died in the state of Washington from COVID-19, state health officials said Saturday, marking the first death reported in the United States.
State officials issued a brief press release announcing the death, gave no details and scheduled a press conference.
Health officials in California, Oregon and the state of Washington were concerned about the spread of the new coronavirus through the west coast communities after confirming that three patients were infected by unknown means.
The patients, an elderly woman from Northern California with chronic health problems, a high school student in Everett, Washington and an employee of a Portland, Oregon area school, had not recently traveled abroad or had close contact with a traveler or an infected person, authorities said.
Previous cases in the United States include three people who were evacuated from the city of Wuhan, in central China, the epicenter of the outbreak; 14 people who returned from China, or their spouses; and 42 US passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which were transferred to US military bases in California and Texas for quarantine.
Convinced that the number of cases will grow, but determined to prevent them from exploding, health agencies were increasing their efforts to identify patients.
The California Department of Public Health said Friday that the state will receive enough kits from the Centers for Disease Control. UU. To evaluate the COVID-19 virus to 1,200 people per day, a day after Governor Gavin Newsom complained to federal health officials that the state had already used up its first 200 test kits.
Santa Clara County in the San Francisco Bay Area reported two cases in which the source of infection was unknown. The older woman was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, and rapid local tests confirmed on one day that she had the virus, health officials said.
“This case represents a certain degree of community propagation, a certain degree of circulation,” said Dr. Sara Cody, a Santa Clara County health officer and director of the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health.
“But we don’t know to what extent,” Cody said. “It could be a little, it could be a lot.”
“We need to start taking important additional measures to at least stop it as much as possible,” he said.
Cody said the recently confirmed case in Santa Clara County is not related to two previous cases in that county, nor to others in the state.
The Santa Clara County resident was treated at a local hospital and it is not known that she traveled to Solano County, where another woman was identified on Wednesday for contracting the virus from an unknown source.
Dozens of people had close contact with the woman from Solano County. They were urged to quarantine at home, while some who showed symptoms of illness were isolated, authorities said.
At UC Davis Medical Center, at least 124 registered nurses and other health workers were sent home for “self-quarantine,quot; after the Solano County woman with the virus was admitted, National Nurses United said Friday, a national union that represents registered nurses.
The case “highlights the vulnerability of the country’s hospitals to this virus,” the union said.
Early Friday, Oregon confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a person who works at an elementary school in the Portland area, which will be temporarily closed.
The Lake Oswego School District sent an automatic call to parents saying that Forest Hills Elementary will be closed until Wednesday so maintenance workers can clean it thoroughly.
Washington state health officials announced two new cases of coronavirus on Friday night, including a high school student attending Jackson High School at Everett, said Dr. Chris Spitters of the Snohomish County Health District.
The other case in Washington was a woman in King County in her 50s who had recently traveled to South Korea, authorities said.
Both patients were not seriously ill.
The number of cases of coronavirus in the United States is considered small. Worldwide, the number of people sick with the virus was around 83,000 on Friday, and there were more than 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.
But health officials don’t take risks. Some communities, including San Francisco, have already declared local emergencies in case they need to obtain government funds.
In Orange County, in southern California, the city of Costa Mesa went to court to prevent state and federal health officials from transferring dozens of people exposed to the virus aboard a cruise ship in Japan to a state facility in the city. The passengers, including some who tested positive for the virus and underwent hospital care, had stayed at Travis Air Force Base in northern California.
On Friday, state officials said the federal government decided that it no longer had a crucial need to move those people to the Fairview Development Center in Costa Mesa. That is due to the imminent end of the period of isolation for those passengers and the relatively small number of people who ended up proving positive, authorities said.
The new cases of coronavirus of unknown origin mark an escalation of the world outbreak in the USA. UU. Because it means that the virus could extend beyond the scope of preventive measures such as quarantines, although state health officials said it was inevitable and that the risk of widespread transmission remains low. .
California public health officials said Friday that more than 9,380 people control themselves after arriving on commercial flights from China through Los Angeles and San Francisco. That is higher than the 8,400 that Newsom cited on Thursday, although authorities said the number increases daily as more flights arrive.
Officials are not too worried, for now, about casual contact, because federal officials think that the coronavirus is transmitted only through “close contact, being less than six feet from someone for what they call a prolonged period of time. “said Dr. James Watt, interim state epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health.
The virus can cause fever, cough, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from the drops when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.
While infectious disease experts were deployed in the city of Vacaville, in Solano County, some city residents between San Francisco and Sacramento supplied supplies amid fears that things might get worse despite official guarantees. , while others took the news calmly.
The woman from the community who has coronavirus first sought treatment at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, before her condition worsened and she was transferred to the medical center in Sacramento.
The chief health officer of Sacramento County told The Sacramento Bee on Friday that he expects several medical workers to test positive in the coming days. Numerous workers in both hospitals have been evaluated, but the tests were sent to laboratories approved by the CDC and generally take three to four days to complete.
Peter Beilenson, director of health services for Sacramento County, said he expects even those who are positive to get slightly ill.
The confusion about how quickly the coronavirus test was performed on women worried McKinsey Paz, who works at a private security company in Vacaville. The company has already stored 450 facial masks and is fighting for more “since they are hard to come by.” The company owner bought enough cleaning supplies and disinfectants to scrub the office and send it home with the employees.
But they seemed to be at the extreme for preparations.
Eugenia Kendall wore a facial mask, but she feared anything, including the common cold. Your immune system is affected because you are undergoing chemotherapy and have long taken these precautions.
“We are not paranoid. We are just trying to be practical,” said 31-year-old husband Ivan Kendall. “We clean the shopping carts if they have them, and when I get back to the car I clean my hands, and I only hope for the best.”
Associated Press writer Adam Beam contributed to this report.
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