Washington state governor declares state of emergency after first COVID-19 death in U.S.

The governor of Washington state declared a state of emergency Saturday after a man died there of COVID-19, the first such reported death in the United States. More than 50 people in a nursing facility are sick and being tested for the virus.

Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary” to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The declaration also allows the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary.

“We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus,” the governor vowed.

Health officials in California, Oregon and Washington state are worried about the novel coronavirus spreading through West Coast communities because people are being infected by unknown means. They had not visited an area where there was an outbreak, nor apparently been in contact with anyone who had.

The man who died was in his 50s, had underlying health conditions and no history of travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, health officials in Washington state said at a news conference. A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kayse Dahl, said the person died in the facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.

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