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The global coronavirus outbreak can now be considered deadly in the United States, after it was confirmed Saturday afternoon that a person in Washington state succumbed to the virus.
"It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19," Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus."
According to the Associated Press:
State officials issued a terse news release announcing the death, gave no details and scheduled a news conference. A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kayse Dahl, said the person died in the facility, but gave no details.
State and King County health officials said "new people (have been) identified with the infection, one of whom died." They did not say how many new cases there are.
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Amy Reynolds of the Washington state health department said in a brief telephone interview: "We are dealing with an emergency evolving situation."
President Donald Trump, along with members of his Coronavirus Task Force, held a press conference Saturday afternoon to offer an update on the situation. Watch:
Mwanehile, Trump and the administration continue to face criticism for their handling of the crisis, including repeated efforts to downplay the severity of the threat and inhibiting federal public health officials from speaking out freely about the developing situation.
Person in Washington state first in US to die from new virus https://t.co/9FByDqtTth How long before MAGA chuds start calling this poor person a crisis actor?
— Sanho Tree (@SanhoTree) February 29, 2020
As Common Dreams reported earlier, the National Nurses United union has issued a public warning that the nation's hospitals remain unprepared to deal with the unfolding outbreak and called on hospital, state-level, and federal officials to increase their preparedness.