The number of people who have died from coronavirus in the U.S. rose to 11 on Wednesday as California announced the first death outside Washington state.
The California victim was an elderly Placer County resident who was likely exposed on a Princess cruise ship that left from San Francisco to Mexico in mid-February, health officials said.
The unidentified person, who had underlying health issues, arrived at a Sacramento-area hospital by ambulance last Thursday and died on Wednesday.
Placer County health officials believe the patient had “minimal community exposure” since returning from the trip on Feb. 21, but five emergency responders who were exposed have been put in isolation and other cruise ship passengers are being notified about their possible exposure.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” Placer County Health Officer 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.”
The announcement came moments after Washington health officials confirmed their state’s 10th death — the ninth in King County, where multiple residents of a nursing facility right outside Seattle have tested positive for the virus. No details about Washington’s latest victim were immediately available.
California and Washington have the largest concentration of coronavirus cases in the country, with 53 and 39, respectively. California’s number, however, includes two dozen passengers who were infected aboard a cruise ship in Japan.