Washington state patient is first USA death from novel coronavirus

01 Mars, 2020, 00:30 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Oregon's first case of coronavirus is an employee at Forest Hills Elementary School in Lake Oswego. They are being treated at a Hillsboro hospital

Washington state health officials announced Saturday that a Seattle-area person who had coronavirus has died.

The Oregon health authority said a school employee, who was not identified for privacy protection, experienced COVID-19-like symptoms beginning February 19 and had no history of traveling overseas nor close contact with any infected person.

One case involves a teenager in Everett with no travel history.

Health officials in California, Oregon and Washington state are anxious about the coronavirus spreading through West Coast communities after confirming at least three patients were infected by unknown means.

A day earlier, state health officials had pegged the number of people in California with the virus at 33 after investigators announced that a woman hospitalized in Sacramento contracted it.

US and global stocks plummeted as rattled investors braced for the prospect that a pandemic could further dent an already slowing world economy. That's because of the imminent end of the isolation period for those passengers and the relatively small number of persons who ended up testing positive, officials said.

Cody said the newly confirmed case in Santa Clara County is not linked to two previous cases in that county, nor to others in the state. He also said Trump authorized the State Department to raise the travel advisory for certain affected areas to Level Four, the highest level.

The Associated Press reported it is the first US death from the disease, which started in China and has been slowly spreading across the globe.

There are now more than 85,000 cases globally - a lot of them in China, where the virus originated - and more than 2,900 deaths.

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The new, unexplained COVID-19 cases were confirmed by health authorities in Washington County, Oregon, and Snohomish County, Washington, where the infected person is a high school student.

The three latest patients were diagnosed based on results obtained in their respective states from CDC-supplied test kits and are considered "presumptive positive" cases pending CDC confirmatory testing, the USA agency said. An additional case was confirmed in Washington state on Friday, with the patient having recently traveled to South Korea, where more than 3,000 people are now confirmed to have the virus. Trump's administration said Saturday the existing travel ban on Iran would extend to foreign nationals who had been in the country the past 14 days. Only two person-to-person transmissions were documented among them, both between married couples.

Previously much of the focus was on people who had visited places such as Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began, or who had been in close contact with people who were infected.

He reportedly returned to school on Friday morning as he was feeling better.

The World Health Organization said earlier this week the risk of the new coronavirus expanding worldwide is now "very high".

Fauci warned lawmakers the country lacked enough testing resources, the source said on condition of anonymity. Unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of this virus.

Coronavirus is spread primarily through tiny droplets coughed or sneezed directly from an infected person into the face of someone nearby, as opposed to the more contagious "airborne" transmission of a virus like measles, which can remain suspended in enclosed spaces and be breathed in hours after being exhaled by sick individuals, experts say.

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