Two confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus were reported at a longterm care facility in Kirkland, Washington on Saturday. A resident in their 70s and a healthcare worker in their 40s had tested positive and the resident was in a serious condition, local health officials said. The facility, Life Care, has 108 residents and 180 staff members, of which dozens have experienced symptoms and will be tested, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County public health. News of the outbreak came as top federal health authorities stressed the low risk level to the general population—and the danger to those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions and contact with an infected person.
The source of the facility’s infections is unknown, but “circumstances suggest person-to-person spread in the community,” the CDC said in a press release on Saturday. Hours earlier, news broke of the first stateside death caused by the virus. A man in his 50s with underlying health conditions died in Washington state, where Gov. Jay Inslee announced he had declared a state of emergency. As of Saturday evening, there were 69 cases in the U.S., including 22 picked up in the American health system and dozens more who had been repatriated from Wuhan, China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.