First coronavirus DEATH in the U.S. happens in Washington state
The person who died was in their 50s and was medically high-risk, President Donald Trump said Saturday. Federal officials also said the person was not known to have traveled recently.
An electron microscope image showing the novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab.NIAID-RML
Health officials in Washington state said on Saturday a coronavirus patient has died.
The death is the first from coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the United States.
"It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
President Donald Trump said during a press conference Saturday afternoon the person who died was in their late 50s and was "medically high-risk."
Officials also said at the news conference that the person was not known to have traveled recently, which suggests they may have contracted the infection in the U.S.
As of early Saturday, the United States had 66 cases of coronavirus, including nine people who have recovered and four “presumptive” cases, which are those that test positive locally with confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pending.
More information about the person who died from the virus was not immediately released. However, officials scheduled a press conference in King County at 4 p.m.
Washington state along with Oregon and California all reported new cases on Friday. Among the new confirmed or presumptive cases, there were three contracted from an unknown source, bringing the total number of what could be "community spread" cases in the United States to four.
"Community spread" is a term used when someone is infected but the source is unknown. Previously much of the focus was on people who had visited places such as Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began, or who had been in close contact with people who were infected.
The patients from these four cases have no known travel history or exposure to someone who had traveled or been infected. Not all four have been confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing, but they tested positive locally.
The CDC adjusted its testing guidance this week to include people with symptoms but with no identified source of exposure.
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States which may involve community spread was confirmed by a CDC test on Wednesday. That patient is at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, and involves a woman from Solano County, officials said.
Trump said Saturday that he plans to meet with pharmaceutical companies on Monday to talk about a vaccine for coronavirus
"They've already started working on it," he said at his press conference. "These companies will be coming to the White House."