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California reports first death in state from new coronavirus

Posted at 11:40 AM, Mar 04, 2020

Placer County Public Health is reporting that a resident has died of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say the person was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions.

The patient was the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county and is now the first to die from the illness in California, according to officials.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient," said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. "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.

"While most cases of COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, 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."

Health officials say the patient tested presumptively positive on Tuesday at a California lab and was likely exposed during international travel from Feb. 11-21 on a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico. The patient was reportedly in isolation at Kaiser Permanente Roseville.

Officials believe the patient had minimal contact with the community between returning from the cruise and arriving at the hospital by ambulance on Feb. 27.

Ten Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers and five emergency responders who were exposed prior to the patient being put in isolation are now in quarantine. Health officials say they are not exhibiting symptoms but are being monitored.

Placer County Public Health says it is working closely with Sacramento County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and contact other cruise passengers who may have also been exposed.