Health officials in northern California announced the state’s first COVID-19 death Wednesday, hours after Los Angeles declared a local emergency over the outbreak.
The California death brings U.S. fatalities to at least 11.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,”said Dr. Aimee Sisson, the health officer in Placer County, north of Sacramento.
“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.
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has declared a local emergency after six new cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 strain were identified within the Los Angeles area, CNBC reports.
The board's chair, Kathryn Barger, told reporters on Wednesday that she signed the proclamation to free up state and federal funding.
"I want to reiterate that this is not a response rooted in panic," she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We need every tool at our disposal."
County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis added that the declaration will enable local officials "to further draw down resources from both the federal and state level of government."
She added, "There's been too much misinformation spreading around. As we expected, it's cultivating fears and leading to racial profiling."
The director of the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, told CNBC that all six cases are connected to "an assumed known exposure," and that the department is improving on its testing capacity.
"We will ensure that people who test positive for the novel coronavirus and their close contacts are quickly identified and closely monitored and supported while they are in isolation and/or quarantined," she added.
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