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4 Mar, 2020 20:05

California reports 1st coronavirus death, bringing US total to 11

California reports 1st coronavirus death, bringing US total to 11

The first death from the Covid-19 coronavirus has been reported in California, upping the death toll in the US to 11. The victim was an elderly person who was exposed to the virus on a cruise ship.

Health officials in Placer County, northeast of the state capital of Sacramento, said the victim was the second person in the county to test positive for the virus, and had other health problems that contributed to their death.

“While most cases of Covid-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this tragic death underscores the urgent need for us to take extra steps to protect residents who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions,” said Dr Aimee Sisson.

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Officials said the victim was most likely exposed to the virus during a trip from San Francisco to Mexico in mid-February, on board a Princess cruise ship.

Earlier in the day, the cruise line sent out an email to all of the passengers who were on the February 11-21 cruise, notifying them that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was investigating a “small cluster” of Covid-19 cases on board the 'Grand Princess.'

This is the first US death from the novel coronavirus outside of Washington state, where a cluster of almost 40 cases originated in a nursing home in Kirkland, outside of Seattle. Prior to the discovery of those cases, the only documented coronavirus infections in the US were among Americans repatriated from China and the 'Diamond Princess' cruise ship that had been quarantined in Japan – as well as a handful of individuals who had been in contact with travelers to Wuhan, the origin point of the infection in China’s Hubei Province.

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