California Declares State of Emergency in All 58 Counties Over Coronavirus

March 4, 2020 Updated: March 5, 2020
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California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday proclaimed a state of emergency due to the outbreak of new coronavirus, which now has 53 confirmed cases across the state.

In a statement, the governor said that California “is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus.”

The declaration is to help the state advance resources to prepare for further cases. Newsom said that the proclamation is “about resourcefulness.”

Washington and Florida had already declared emergencies over the new coronavirus outbreak.

Newsom’s announcement came just hours after the first death in California was announced. The case involved an elderly man in Placer County, near Sacramento, who had underlying health problems.

It is currently believed that he may have been exposed while on a cruise that traveled between San Francisco and Mexico last month.

The man’s death marks the 11th in the United States due to the virus SARS-CoV-2. He was one of two people who have so far tested positive for the virus after returning from the cruise ship. Authorities are tracking down other passengers on the cruise who may have been in close contact with the two individuals.

It also marks the first U.S. death outside of Washington state, which is where the other 10 deaths related to the new coronavirus were confirmed. The deaths are believed to have been related to a cluster of at least 39 coronavirus cases in two Seattle-area counties that are believed to be community transmission.

At least 18 of the 39 cases, including six deaths, were connected to the LifeCare Center of Kirkland—a long-term nursing facility for the elderly in Seattle.

Ambulances are seen in a staging area at the North Kirkland Community Center, which is a short drive from the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, in Kirkland
Ambulances are seen in a staging area at the North Kirkland Community Center, which is a short drive from the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, in Kirkland, Washington, on March 4, 2020. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Back in California, public health officials said on Wednesday that six new coronavirus patients had been detected in Los Angeles County, one of whom was a federal contract medical worker conducting screenings at Los Angeles International Airport. As the person wore protective equipment while on the job, it remains unclear how the worker contracted the virus, Homeland Security officials said.

Three others patients were most likely infected while traveling recently in northern Italy—one of the areas hardest hit by the outbreak.

Of the six, only one has been hospitalized. The other five are recovering in home isolation.

Cases in New York state rose to 10 on Wednesday. The cases involve three family members and the neighbor of a lawyer who was previously confirmed to have the virus. The neighbor’s wife and three of his children have also been infected, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is current for Tuesday 4 p.m., listed 129 confirmed and presumed cases in the United States—up from 108. According to the website, 80 people were detected through the public health system in 13 states, while 49 were repatriated from abroad.

Lawmakers in the House reached a bipartisan agreement to approve an $8.3 billion emergency bill to help fund efforts to contain the virus. The measure will need to be approved by the Senate, after which President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

The administration is working to allow laboratories to develop their own coronavirus tests without seeking regulatory approval first, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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