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Gov. Newsom declares statewide emergency in California following coronavirus death

Placer County health officials announced Tuesday night that an elderly person tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. They died Wednesday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday a statewide emergency after a Placer County resident who tested positive for the novel coronavirus died.

The elderly person who died Wednesday was on the Grand Princess cruise ship that left San Francisco to Mexico on Feb. 11 and returned to San Francisco on Feb. 21. The victim was taken to Kaiser Permanente in Roseville six days later. 

On Tuesday, Placer County health officials announced that the patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The person died the next day, marking the state's first death.

Meanwhile, authorities say a medical screener at Los Angeles International Airport has also contracted the virus and is one of six new confirmed cases in the state.

So far, 53 people statewide have tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom gives update on coronavirus following state's 1st confirmed death

Newsom said the death was not the only reason for the emergency proclamation. The same cruise ship deployed for another trip to Hawaii and then Mexico but is headed back for docked quarantine off of San Francisco.

Of the 2,500 passengers who are on the cruise ship, most of them are Californians. Newsom said health officials are flying testing kits to the ship and sending them to a testing site in Richmond.

Michael Codon's wife, Kathleen, is on the Grand Princess cruise ship and said despite passengers' fears and concerns, there have been no known cases confirmed on the ship and crews have taken care of the passengers still there.

"We may be a little inconvenienced but are grateful for the care and concern exhibited by the captain and crew of the Grand Princess during this situation," Kathleen said in a message that her husband shared with ABC10.


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low.



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