Six coronavirus deaths in Washington state


SEATTLE (KCPQ) — King County announced an emergency declaration on Monday as the number of COVID-19 cases there rose to 14, including five deaths.

Snohomish County has four reported cases, including one death, according to officials.

Dr. Jeff Duchin of Public Health – Seattle & King County said there were four new cases of novel coronavirus. Of those four cases, two patients have died. One patient in a previously reported case has also died, he said.

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These are the new cases, according to the department:

A male in his 50s, hospitalized at Highline Hospital. No known exposures.
A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
A female in her 80s, a resident of LifeCare, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth
In addition, a woman in her 80s, who was already reported as in critical condition at Evergreen, has died. She died on 3/1/20
King County Executive Dow Constantine issued an emergency declaration on Monday to allow additional resources in the effort to contain COVID-19.

“We have moved to a new stage in the fight to contain and mitigate this outbreak. King County is aligned and organized behind this common mission, with Public Health – Seattle & King County as our lead agency,” said Executive Constantine. “We will direct all available resources to help cities, health-care facilities, businesses, and families continue life as normally as possible. But our best strategies depend on millions of residents actively following established disease prevention guidelines.”

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Health officials urged people who think they have symptoms to call their doctor before going to an emergency room.

They also said they are not recommending school closures or the cancelation of large activities.

Seattle skyscraper, schools close amid virus concerns

A downtown Seattle skyscraper and about a dozen schools in the area were closed for cleaning Monday after health officials in Washington state announced a second person had died from the new coronavirus.

Researchers said earlier the COVID-19 virus may have been circulating for weeks undetected in Washington state, and experts said more cases would likely be reported in Washington, Oregon and California as testing ramps up.

The F5 technology company said it was closing its 44-story tower in downtown Seattle after learning an employee had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus. The employee tested negative but company spokesman Rob Gruening told The Seattle Times the tower was being closed out of an abundance of caution. And more than 10 schools in the Seattle area were closed for deep cleaning over virus concerns.

Authorities in the Seattle area reported four new cases Sunday night, including the man who died. Of those new cases, two were women, one in her 80s and another in her 90s. Both were in critical condition. A man in his 70s was also in critical condition. All four were from the LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, where health officials said 50 people are sick and being tested for the virus. On Sunday night, the International Association of Fire Fighters said 25 members who responded to calls for help at the nursing facility are being quarantined.

The first U.S. case was a Washington state man who had visited China, where the virus first emerged, but several recent cases in the U.S. have had no known connection to travelers. In California, two health care workers in the San Francisco Bay Area who cared for an earlier coronavirus patient were diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus on Sunday, the Alameda and Solano counties said in a joint statement. In Oregon, the state Health Authority said Sunday that a second person in the state tested positive for the virus. The person is an adult who lives with the first Oregon resident that tested positive and does not need medical attention, the authority said.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington on Sunday said they had evidence the virus may have been circulating in the state for up to six weeks undetected — a finding that, if true, could mean hundreds of undiagnosed cases in the area. They posted their research online, but it was not published in a scientific journal or reviewed by other scientists.

Trevor Bedford, an associate professor who announced the preliminary findings on the virus in Washington state, said on Twitter late Saturday that genetic similarities between the state’s first case on Jan. 20 and a case announced Friday indicated the newer case may have descended from the earlier one. The Jan. 20 case was the first known case in the U.S.

“I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China,” he said on Twitter.

Scientists not affiliated with the research said the results did not necessarily surprise them and pointed out that for many people — especially younger, healthier ones — the symptoms are not much worse than a flu or bad cold.