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People's Daily Online

4 more COVID-19 deaths reported in U.S. as confirmed total surpasses 90

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:06, March 03, 2020

NEW YORK, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has climbed to at least 91, while four more deaths attributed to the virus were reported in the country, bringing the death toll to six, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Monday.

All the six deaths have occurred in the northwestern state of Washington. Five of the victims were from the populous King county, and one was from neighboring Snohomish county. Four of the six fatalities are linked to an outbreak at a nursing facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, local health officials said.

One more case was confirmed on Monday in the midwestern state of Illinois, bringing the statewide total to three.

The patient, a man in his 70s, is being treated at a hospital in Arlington Heights, a northwestern suburb of Chicago.

His wife, also in her 70s, has tested positive for the disease. But the case is waiting to be confirmed by the CDC lab in Atlanta.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has asked hospitals across the state to implement additional testing to improve surveillance for COVID-19. He said two more labs in central and southern Illinois will be able to test specimens this week.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio jointly held a press conference Monday, providing more details on the state's first confirmed case diagnosed a day earlier.

A 39-year-old woman, who had been working in Iran as a health worker, returned to New York City last Tuesday. She took a private car service to her home in Manhattan, said Cuomo.

The woman has manifested respiratory illness but her condition is mild. She is under home isolation, said the governor.

Officials believe the patient was not contagious on the plane or in the car from the airport. But the government will contact the people who were on the same flight and the driver of the car service, out of an abundance of caution.

Officials said a community spread in the state is unavoidable as New York is "the gateway to the world," and to speed up testing is crucial. Cuomo said he expects the state could have a capacity of 1,000 tests per day.

The state of Louisiana created COVID-19 Task Force to deal with the threat of the coronavirus on Monday.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the task force is made up of state and federal officials from the Louisiana Department of Health, the Office of Public Health, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana National Guard, the United States Coast Guard, Louisiana State Police, and several other agencies.

Even though there are currently not any confirmed cases in the state, Edwards urged residents to remain vigilant against the threat of the coronavirus, avoid going out to public places if they are feeling sick and wash hands regularly.

Also on Monday, Ron Nirenberg, mayor of San Antonio in the state of Texas, issued a local state of disaster and public health emergency, ordering that anyone quarantined for COVID-19 at designated facilities be prohibited from entering the city "until further notice."

The proclamation would be in effect for seven days unless continued or renewed by the city council.

Nirenberg said in a tweet that the declaration is "explicitly designed to ensure evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship cohort remain at Lackland AFB until further testing is completed," adding that "this is not to signify that the public is at any increased risk."

On Sunday, the mayor said in a statement that it is "unacceptable" that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient who was with a positive COVID-19 reading.

The CDC said that at the time of discharge on Saturday from a healthcare facility in San Antonio, the patient had no symptoms and met all criteria for release, including two negative test results. However, after the release, the results of a subsequent sample with weakly positive reading were received, prompting the CDC to bring the individual back into isolation.

The CDC explained that there have been similar situations where test results alternate back and forth between negative and positive.

The patient had some contact with others after discharge. Local public health officials are following up to trace possible exposures and notify them of the potential risk. Enditem

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