LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s first coronavirus fatality — an elderly patient who apparently contracted the illness on a cruise — prompted the governor Wednesday to declare a statewide emergency as six new cases, including a medical screener at Los Angeles International Airport, were confirmed.
The measure made California the third U.S. state to declare a state of emergency. Washington and Florida are the other two.
The state currently has 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the emergency proclamation is intended to help procure supplies and resources quickly. He announced the move Wednesday afternoon during a news conference, hours after the patient’s death in Placer County was announced.
Newsom said the state is particularly focused on senior centers, nursing homes and other care facilities where people live together in light of the outbreak in Washington state that has already killed 10 there.
The cruise ship is now under investigation as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention probe a “small cluster” of coronavirus patients who were aboard, according to the cruise line. Another passenger who contracted the COVID-19 virus is now in stable condition at a hospital in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.
It was unclear if the airport medical screener contracted through their work at the airport or from so-called community transmission, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. No travelers screened at the Los Angeles airport have tested positive for the virus.
Earlier Wednesday, officials in Los Angeles County announced that six new cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed, up from one previously. The airport screener is one of those six patients.
Across California, more than 50 people have tested positive for the virus, including several who got it through community transmission, according to the state Department of Public Health. More than 500 people have been tested for the virus.
The elderly patient had underlying health conditions and died at a hospital in Roseville, near Sacramento, according to Placer County health officials.
The person was not identified, with officials disclosing only that the person was a Placer County resident who tested positive for the virus Tuesday.
Health officials believe both cruise ship patients were exposed while they were on the Grand Princess cruise from San Francisco to Mexico from Feb. 11 to Feb. 21.
Newsom said more than half of 2,500 aboard the February cruise, which docked in San Francisco, are California residents.
Continue reading this story >>>