The first fatality in the United States from the coronavirus was confirmed Saturday by the Washington State Department of Health. “The first U.S. death from COVID-19 has occurred here in the state of Washington,” the department said in a tweet, referring to the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The patient died in a hospital in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle, The New York Times reported. The Washington State Department of Health said it would hold a briefing later Saturday to provide details.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Saturday that the state is working to keep its citizens safe.
“In partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Emergency Management and local and community health partners, we are strengthening our preparedness and response efforts,” Inslee said in a statement. “I am committed to keeping Washingtonians healthy, safe and informed.”
Discovered in December in China, the coronavirus has spread globally, so far killing more than 2,900 people and infecting about 86,000. Washington state was also the site of the first case in the US, a traveler who’d returned from China. The person has since recovered and been released, the Times noted.
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there wasn’t any evidence that the patient who died in Washington on Saturday had recently traveled or been in contact with anyone known to be infected, the Times reported. The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kirkland, Washington, site of the death, is also adjacent to Redmond, where Microsoft is headquartered. It’s unclear how the news might affect the company. Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. So far,in various ways. , travel plans have been disrupted, component supplies have been threatened, and several companies have issued various financial warnings.
On Friday, Google said an employee in its Zurich office had been diagnosed with coronavirus, though the office itself remains open. Apple has temporarily closed its corporate offices and contact centers in China.
More to come.
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