California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Wednesday after the state announced its first fatality from the new coronavirus.
The measure, which made California the third U.S. state to declare a state of emergency, will help with quickly getting the necessary supplies and resources, the governor explained in a news conference Wednesday.
“It’s about resourcefulness. It’s about our ability to add tools to the tool kit,” he said.
The person who died was described as an “elderly” Placer County resident with underlying health conditions who had returned from an international cruise and tested positive for COVID-19, county officials said in a news release.
Health officials said the patient was likely exposed to the virus while traveling aboard a Princess cruise ship that carried passengers between San Francisco and Mexico from Feb. 11 to Feb. 21.
The person continued to show symptoms while traveling through the Port of San Francisco, county officials said in a news conference Tuesday.
After he called 911, an ambulance brought the patient to Kaiser Permanente Roseville on Feb. 27. Ten healthcare workers and five emergency responders were exposed to the virus before the patient was put in isolation, according to Placer County Public Health.
They were all quarantined but none are showing any symptoms, authorities said.
Officials said the person the person was tested and the results came back positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday from a California lab. It marked the second case reported in the county.
The patient is believed to have had “minimal community exposure” since arriving from the cruise, according to the news release.
“This case is travel-related and does not represent local transmission but health officials believe local transmission is likely in the future,” county officials said in the release.
Local officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and reach out to other cruise ship passengers who may have been exposed to coronavirus.
“By this evening, we will have contacted every county health official that has someone who came off this cruise,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
California’s coronavirus death brings the death toll in the United States up to 11.
Officials on Tuesday confirmed six new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County, bringing the statewide total up to at least 53 as of Wednesday.
Cases reported in California include 24 who arrived from repatriation flights, 12 that were travel-related, seven that were a result of person-to-person exposure from family contact, three that were a result of exposure at a health care facility, four that were community acquired and three from unknown sources, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Health experts advise community members to limit the spread of the virus by washing their hands regularly with soap and water and avoiding touching their face with unwashed hands.
Newsom said those on Medicaid, Medical and private health insurance should be reimbursed for COVID-19 testing costs.