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Tags: outbreak | deaths | washington | nursing home | epidemic | pandemic

2 More US Deaths Raise Coronavirus Victim Count to 19

a nurse hand holds a blood test tube with label 2019-nCoV over flag of the United States of America

Saturday, 07 March 2020 03:05 PM EST

The death toll in the U.S. now stands at 19 after officials in the U.S. state of Washington have raised the death toll from the coronavirus to 16.

The Washington state Department of Health announced the two additional deaths Saturday.

Two have died from the coronavirus in Florida, while California has reported one death from the contagion.

Washington state has been the first and hardest hit from the global coronavirus outbreak. Officials in the state said the number of people diagnosed with the virus has risen to 102. At least 10 of those who died had been linked to a nursing home in the Seattle area.

Outside of Asia, Italy has been the hardest hit and it saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases Saturday since the outbreak broke out in the north of the country Feb. 21.

In its daily update, Italy's civil protection agency said the number of people with the coronavirus rose by 1,247 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 5,883. Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, taking the total to 233.

Officials said people in intensive care with ailments other than coronavirus in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy would be transferred to neighboring regions, all of which have greater availability.

The president of the national health service, Silvio Brusaferro, urged people to abide by guidelines to limit contact as the only way to contain the virus.

Pope Francis will deliver his next two public blessings via video to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

The Vatican said in a statement Saturday the pope will not hold his traditional Sunday noon blessing from a window over St. Peter's Square, as is tradition, but that it will be streamed from the library in the Apostolic Palace. The Wednesday audience will be handled in the same way.

Francis has also stopped celebrating morning Mass before invited guests at the chapel in the Vatican hotel where he lives, indicating his contact has been extremely limited in an apparent effort to prevent his infection.

At 83, recovering from a cold and with part of one lung removed from a respiratory infection when he was a young man, Francis would be at risk of serious complications if he were to catch the virus. Italy has recommended that elderly people remain at home.

The measures come after the Vatican confirmed its first case of the virus on Friday.

The pope appeared from a window high above St. Peter’s Square for last Sunday’s blessing, pausing twice for short bouts of coughing. He similarly was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass just days earlier.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease to "stay home as much as possible" and avoid crowds to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

The CDC updated the guidance on its COVID-19 website Friday. The agency said older people are more likely to have serious illness and that underlying health conditions make it harder for people to fight off the illness.

The agency also suggested older adults and people with severe conditions should stay away from those who are sick and wash their hands often when they do go out. It also suggested such people have several weeks of medications and supplies at home.

For most people, the flu-like viral illness causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

The U.S. military's European Command says an American sailor has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first U.S. service member in Europe to be infected.

EUCOM said in an email Saturday that the sailor was stationed in Naples, Italy, but gave no other details about the person or where he or she may have been infected.

The military says the sailor is "currently restricted to their residence, receiving supportive and medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention host nation guidelines."

An investigation is underway to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed, and those already identified as having been in close contact have been notified and isolated at their residences.

EUCOM says "we remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population."

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The death toll in the U.S. now stands at 19 after officials in the U.S. state of Washington have raised the death toll from the coronavirus to 16.
outbreak, deaths, washington, nursing home, epidemic, pandemic
Saturday, 07 March 2020 03:05 PM
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