Washington State COVID-19 cases and death reported

March 2, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials in the state of Washington have reported three hospitalized patients who have tested presumptive-positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, including one patient who died.

Two of the patients are from a long-term care facility (LTCF) where one is a healthcare worker. Additional residents and staff of the LTCF who have not yet been tested for COVID-19 are reportedly either ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia of unknown cause. The patient who died, a male in his 50s, was being treated at the same hospital and was not a resident of the LTCF. The CDC erroneously identified the patient as female in an earlier briefing with the President and Vice President.

While there is an ongoing investigation, the source of these infections is currently unknown. Circumstances suggest person-to-person spread in the community, including in the LTCF. This is the first reported death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case in a healthcare worker and the first possible outbreak in a LTCF.

These reports from Washington follow others of community spread in Oregon and two places in California earlier this week. While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the U.S. Most people in the U.S. will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus, but some people will be at increased risk depending on their exposures. The greatest risk is to those who have been in close contact with people with COVID-19. People with suspected or confirmed exposure should reach out to their state or local public health department.

The CDC is sending a team of experts to support the investigation in Washington. These three cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases detected through the U.S. public health system to 22. The federal government will continue to respond aggressively to this rapidly evolving situation. Testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 was conducted in Washington state using the CDC rRT-PCR. Results will be confirmed at the CDC, but a presumptive positive result using the CDC test is treated as a positive for public health response purposes and a coordinated public health response has begun.

CDC has the announcement.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.