BREAKING: A person diagnosed with coronavirus in King County in Washington state has died, according to health officials on Saturday.
What We Know:
More coronavirus infections were also reported from South Korea to France to Qatar on Saturday after health officials in Washington state, Oregon and California on Friday reported another worrying development: new cases among people who have not traveled recently to countries hit hard by the outbreak or come into contact with anyone known to have the disease, which public health officials refer to as community transmission.
The four new cases Friday bring the total number of covid-19 cases detected through the U.S. public health system to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Washington state announced late Friday that a high school student in Snohomish County, just north of Seattle, tested positive for the deadly virus and was in home isolation in a suspected community transmission case. State health officials also said a woman in her 50s in King County tested positive after traveling to Daegu, South Korea, the site of a major coronavirus outbreak. She, too, is in home isolation.
Earlier Friday, Oregon health officials reported a presumptive positive test in a Washington County elementary school employee with no known travel history or contact with infected individuals. California also reported a second case of community transmission, in Santa Clara County, after reporting the nation’s first such case, in Solano County, earlier in the week.
Here are the latest developments:
- The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday took new steps to expand testing for the coronavirus by speeding up hospitals’ abilities to test, though some experts worried that the changes fell short. The action followed complaints from labs that the previous policy was too burdensome and was slowing hospitals’ efforts to create and use their own tests.
- President Trump said he will hold a news conference on coronavirus developments at 1:30 PM at the White House.
- One of three new community-transmitted cases confirmed Friday on the West Coast include an elementary school employee in Oregon, district officials said.
- In France, the government banned gatherings of more than 5,000 people on Saturday after the Health Ministry confirmed 19 new cases late Friday, a nearly 100 percent increase since the day before. European health officials warned of outbreaks in their respective countries as numbers of confirmed cases continued to climb across the continent.
- Qatar announced its first case of coronavirus Saturday, days after the country’s ruler ordered the evacuation of its citizens from Iran, the center of the outbreak in the Middle East. Authorities in Iran Saturday reported more than 200 new cases of the virus causing covid-19 — as well as nine deaths, the highest death toll from the virus outside of China.
- South Korean health officials confirmed nearly 600 new cases, the country’s biggest single-day increase to date.
- China reported its lowest manufacturing numbers on record for the month of February, as the epidemic-stricken economy ground to an unprecedented standstill.
- Major companies are beginning to cancel conferences and travel plans within the United States due to the coronavirus, which analysts warn will have cascading impacts on the country’s hotels, airlines and convention centers.
This is a Breaking News Alert This story is developing and will be updated.