Coronavirus: US death toll hits 11 with California’s first fatality


A patient with coronavirus has died in Placer County, near Sacramento, marking the first coronavirus death in California.

According to the Placer County Public Health, the patient was elderly and had pre-exisiting conditions.

Health officials say the person was likely exposed to the virus on a Princess cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between February 11 and 21. 

The patient had ‘minimal community exposure’ after returning from the cruise, according to county health officials.

He or she was taken by ambulance on February 27 to Kaiser Permanente Roseville and placed in isolation before passing away.

As of Wednesday, there are more than 150 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 11 deaths. 

Meanwhile, the number of cases in Washington rose to 10, and six are linked to Life Care Center.  

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The first coronavirus death has occurred in California in Placer County in a patient who was elderly and had pre-existing health conditions

The patient likely caught the virus on a Princess cruise ship (file image above) that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between February 11 and 21

The patient likely caught the virus on a Princess cruise ship (file image above) that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between February 11 and 21

He or she was taken by ambulance on February 27 Kaiser Permanente Roseville and placed in isolation before passing away

He or she was taken by ambulance on February 27 Kaiser Permanente Roseville and placed in isolation before passing away

Patients infected by coronavirus wait to be transferred from Wuhan No.5 Hospital to Leishenshan Hospital, March 3

Patients infected by coronavirus wait to be transferred from Wuhan No.5 Hospital to Leishenshan Hospital, March 3

Pictured: Medical staff in Wuhan, China prepare to transfer patients infected by coronavirus to Leishenshan Hospital on March 5

Pictured: Medical staff in Wuhan, China prepare to transfer patients infected by coronavirus to Leishenshan Hospital on March 5

While the California patient was in isolation, ten health care workers and five emergency workers were exposed to him or her. 

They are all in quarantine, but none are currently exhibiting symptoms, health officials say.

Officials of the Princess cruise company sent an advisory recommending anyone on the cruise ship to self-quarantine for 14 days until cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

At least two Californians, including the Placer County resident who died, contracted coronavirus, after traveling aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The other patient is a resident of Sonoma County and is currently hospitalized.

‘We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,’ Placer County Health Officer Dr Aimee Sisson said in a statement. 

‘While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see. 

‘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.’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously stated that patients with underlying health conditions are twice as likely to develop ‘serious outcomes.’

California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement shortly after the death was announced,

‘Jennifer and I extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this death in Placer County,’ the statement reads.

‘The state is working with federal officials to follow up on contact tracing of individuals that may have been exposed to provide treatment and protect public health.’  

Meanwhile in Washington, the number of deaths rose to 10, but Public Health – Seattle & King County has not released any details about the patient. 

Coronavirus deaths in Washington rose to 10, with most linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland. Pictured: Susan Haley, a resident at Life Care

Haley's daughter has described the residents as being 'held hostage in a petri dish'. Pictured: Haley

Coronavirus deaths in Washington rose to 10, with most linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland. Many are worried about their loved ones in isolation. Carmen Gray says her mother, Susan Haley (left and right), who lives at Life Care, and other residents as being ‘held hostage in a petri dish’

Another woman, Bonnie Halstad (pictured) said her calls went unanswered for days as she asked for news about her husband, Ken, who lives at the home

Another woman, Bonnie Halstad (pictured) said her calls went unanswered for days as she asked for news about her husband, Ken, who lives at the home

 Of the 10 deaths, nine are residents of King County and one of Snohomish County.

At least six of the deaths are linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland, a nursing long-term care facility just outside of Seattle.

Children and spouses of the nursing home’s residents say that staff are keeping the elderly isolated in their rooms and checking their temperatures daily. 

But they are scared that their loved ones who show symptoms will not be tested or hospitalized until they are in serious condition.

Carmen Gray, of Bothell, told CBS News that her mother, Susan Haley, is one of the patients under quarantine at LifeCare Center.

She says she asked for her mother to be tested for the virus, but was refused. 

‘[They said she] did not meet the criteria at this time,’ Gray said. ‘They’re being held hostage in a petri dish.’

And Bonnie Holstad said staff is refusing to speak to her about the condition of her her husband, Ken, who is at the facility recovering from broken hip. 

She says her calls to the center have gone repeatedly unanswered and she is desperate for news that he is okay after he had a cough. He also suffers from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Holstad stood outside the facility on Sunday with a sign saying: ‘No one at Life Care is answering the phones. He needs to be attended to…what is his temperature?’

She told CNN that, after she protested, a nurse did then check on him and told her he doesn’t have a fever.

‘I was so angry. How can this be that I have to do this, make a sign and go down there?’ Holstad said. 

‘I have real problems with how they’re handling the interface with family,’ and added that it was ‘sort of like a movie about an epidemic in a little town, and they don’t know how to handle the situation.’

Holstad told how she only found out about the potential outbreak in the home when she arrived for a visit on Saturday and was turned away by a sign on the door saying no visitors allowed.

She then got a message from the center telling her about the confirmed cases.

Before then she had been told staff were wearing masks because some residents had colds.

Holstad also said her husband had not been tested for coronavirus because he doesn’t have all of the symptoms required for testing.

In Facebook post, Life Care said staff members are constantly monitoring patients for any signs of the virus. 

Medical personnel attend to a patient in critical condition at a hospital designated for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, March  1

Medical personnel attend to a patient in critical condition at a hospital designated for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, March  1

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear, spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Guryong slum on March 3

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear, spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Guryong slum on March 3

Families are worried about their loved ones at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington. Pictured: Healthcare workers transfer a patient on a stretcher to an ambulance at the Life Care Center, March 1

Families are worried about their loved ones at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington. Pictured: Healthcare workers transfer a patient on a stretcher to an ambulance at the Life Care Center, March 1

Children and spouses of the nursing home's residents say that staff are keeping the elderly isolated in their rooms and checking their temperatures daily but not testing them for the virus. Pictured: Healthcare workers transfer a patient on a stretcher to an ambulance at the Lifeare Center, March 1

Children and spouses of the nursing home’s residents say that staff are keeping the elderly isolated in their rooms and checking their temperatures daily but not testing them for the virus. Pictured: Healthcare workers transfer a patient on a stretcher to an ambulance at the Lifeare Center, March 1

‘Current residents and associates continue to be monitored closely, specifically for an elevated temperature, cough and/or shortness of breath,’ the post read.  

‘Any resident displaying these symptoms is placed in isolation. Associates are screened prior to beginning work and upon leaving. We are also following infection control recommendations, including proper hand-washing techniques and wearing masks, gowns and gloves when caring for any symptomatic patients.’ 

Life Care Center of Kirkland did not immediately reply to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

At a press conference yesterday, King County Public Health Officer Jeffrey Duchin said they ‘expect the number of cases will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks.’

In fact, officials say they expect to see more cases than the flu.  

‘This disease will pose a significant challenge to the healthcare delivery system across the country and across the world,’ Duchin said. 

The death toll also rose in New York on Wednesday from seven to 11.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed the CDC’s mortality rate quote for coronavirus: 1.4 percent.

However, Cuomo is not quoting the actual death rate in the US. Eleven out of 157 people with coronavirus in the US are dead. 

That means the death rate here is currently seven percent.

Cuomo and the CDC are quoting the death rate that a Chinese study identified.

But that death rate was based on a bigger group of patients who were both young and old.

In the US, most patients are older and at least six out of the 11 who died were in a nursing home for sick and old people.

This is likely skewing the death rate high, especially because a shortage of coronavirus tests means there are probably many younger people who are only mildly ill and have not been tested or diagnosed yet. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading expert on coronavirus in the US, told Congress on Wednesday it was still too early to determine accurate mortality rates of the disease in America because it wasn’t yet clear how many had been infected. 

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE 11 US PATIENTS WHO DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS 

So far, 11 people have died of coronavirus in the US, federal and local health officials say.  

Ten of the deaths have occurred in Washington state – nine in King County and one of Snohomish County.

Most came from Life Care Center, a long-term care facility in Kirkland.

One deaths has occurred in Placer County, California.    

Here’s what we currently know: 

1. A man in his 50s was brought from Life Care Center to Harborview Medical Center on February 24. He died two days later and is the first death in the US from coronavirus

2. A man in his 50s from King County who had underlying health conditions. He was hospitalized and died at EvergreenHealth on February 29

3. A man in his 40s from Snohomish County who died after being hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland on March 1

4. A woman in her 70s, who lived at Life Care and was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She had pre-existing conditions, and died on March 1

5. A man in his 70s, linked to Life Care, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He died on February 29 and pre-existing conditions

6. A man in his 70s, who was also a resident of Life Care, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He died on March 1 and also had underlying health conditions

7. A woman in her 70s, who was a Life Care resident, was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on March 2

8. A woman in her 80s, who was linked to Life Care and was previously reported to be in critical condition at EvergreenHealth, died on March 1

9. A woman in her 80s, who was a resident of Life Care and was never hospitalized, died at her family home on February 26

10. A tenth death was confirmed on March 4, but Public Health – Seattle & King County has not yet released information about the latest death 

11. An elderly patient died on March 4 in Placer County, California after likely becoming infected on a Princess cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico between February 11 and 21

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