The U.S. reported 21 new coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, as the number of infected continues to climb. At least nine people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., all in the state of Washington, and there are currently at least 129 cases of the disease across the country, according to an online tracker maintained by John Hopkins University.
The U.S. lost valuable time after the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out faulty tests for COVID-19 in the first week of February. As a result, local health officials have struggled to properly test for the virus, and they’re currently trying to play catch-up. For example, just 12 people have been tested for coronavirus in New York City as of Tuesday at noon.
The CDC still won’t say what went wrong with the faulty tests, but the federal government promises there will be at least 1 million tests available by the end of the week. Health experts caution that such a number is highly unlikely, but that the number of cases is likely to grow considerably as the country expands testing.
The breakdown for new cases across the U.S. over the past 24 hours appears below.
California (5 New Cases)
The city of Berkeley, California announced its first case of the coronavirus on Tuesday in a patient who returned from Italy on February 23. The patient “largely stayed at home” since getting back from Italy, according to a press release from the city, and the patient is currently isolated at home. The patient has no known connection to the University of California-Berkeley, according to an announcement posted online by the school.
Health officials at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles announced a new case of the novel coronavirus late Tuesday night, but the hospital refused to disclose any more details about the patient, including their travel history and age.
“Kaiser Permanente is overseeing the care of a coronavirus patient who is home in self-isolation and being treated on an outpatient basis. We are in touch with and monitoring the patient,” the company said in a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Orange County, California announced its first two cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, described as a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s. Both patients had a history of travel to countries with widespread transmission of the virus, but health officials did not specify which countries. Iran, South Korea, and Italy all have seen the largest number of cases outside of China.
“The more you look for something, the more likely you are to find it,” Dr. Nichole Quick, Orange County Health Officer, said in a statement. “Now that our Public Health Laboratory is able to perform COVID-19 testing, we expect to see more cases here in Orange County.”
Health officials in Placer County, California announced a new coronavirus patient overnight, the second in the region. The new patient is elderly and reportedly “critically ill,” according to a press release posted online by the county. Close contacts of the patient are being isolated and monitored.
The patient was on board a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico last month and was travelling from February 11-21. A coronavirus case in Sonoma County that was confirmed by the California Department of Public Health on Monday is associated with the same cruise ship.
Placer County have announced a local emergency, freeing up resources for health workers in the region.
“We expect to see additional cases in coming days, including cases of community spread, not linked to travel,” Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said in a statement. “We are declaring these emergencies today so we will be able to activate and deploy resources to adequately respond to an increase in cases.”
The county’s first patient was a health care worker with “mild symptoms” who worked at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Florida (1 New Case)
Health officials in Florida announced the state’s third case of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the sister of a 29-year-old woman who recently travelled to Italy. The first and second patients were announced on March 1, a man in Manatee County with no travel history to countries with widespread cases, and a woman in Hillsborough county who had travelled to Italy.
Health officials announced that 247 people in Florida are being monitored for the virus and dozens of test results are still pending as of Tuesday night. Florida can currently test for coronavirus at three state labs in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami, but the governor would like to expand that dramatically.
“Eventually, we’d want to get those tests in the health care facilities. The problem is, it’s not going to happen overnight. I think that that’s potentially months away,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Massachusetts (1 New Case)
State officials in Massachusetts announced on Tuesday that a 27-year-old woman who recently travelled to Italy had a presumptive case of coronavirus, according to NBC’s Channel 10 in Boston. The woman was part of a large school group that travelled to Italy in mid-February and at least two people in Rhode Island from that same group have tested positive for the virus, a man in his 40s and a teenage girl, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The woman tested positive in a local test on Monday night, but the test is sometimes referred to as “presumptive” in the media until it’s confirmed by the CDC. All 38 people who were part of the school trip to Italy, largely people who live in Rhode Island, have been told to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
New Hampshire (1 New Case)
Health officials announced New Hampshire’s second case of the coronavirus on Tuesday in a worker from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre. The patient’s age has not been released but has been described as an “adult man” with links to New Hampshire’s first case.
The state’s first case was announced on Monday in a man who had recently visited Italy and learned he had COVID-19 last week. The man had reportedly been told to self-isolate at home, according to the Associated Press, but attended a social event in the neighbouring state of Vermont on Friday. The event was held at the Tuck School of Business in White River Junction, Vermont.
State health officials issued a mandatory isolation order for the man on Tuesday but it’s not clear where he is currently residing.
New York (1 New Case)
Health officials in New York announced on Tuesday that a 50-year-old man who lives in New Rochelle and works in Manhattan has been infected with coronavirus. The man reportedly has an existing respiratory illness and is in serious condition, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The man, who works as an attorney at the firm Lewis and Garbuz PC, has no travel history to countries with widespread cases of the new virus, but he did recently travel to Miami, Florida. Health officials in Florida only learned about this after news reports broke on Tuesday and are investigating his travel history.
The patients wife and two kids are reportedly self-isolating at their home. Test results for all three are pending.
North Carolina (1 New Case)
North Carolina announced its first case of the coronavirus on Tuesday in a patient from Wake County, the home of Raleigh. The patient recently travelled to an elderly care facility the LifeCare Centre in Kirkland, Washington, which has been the site of the country’s largest outbreak. Seven of the state’s 9 deaths are all linked to the elderly care facility.
The coronavirus patient in Wake County was tested by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH), which just started conducting tests on Tuesday, according to a press release sent out by the state on Tuesday morning.
“Per FDA requirements, test results from NCSLPH and other state labs require confirmation from the CDC,” said Tuesday morning’s press release, sent via email to Gizmodo. “However, a presumptive positive from NCSLPH will initiate an immediate public health response from NCDHHS, NC Emergency Management and the appropriate local health department and hospital while CDC confirmation is pending.”
And we saw that immediately public health response in action by Tuesday afternoon.
Washington (8 New Cases, 3 New Deaths)
Health officials in King County, Washington announced seven new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, all in patients with connections to the LifeCare Centre in Kirkland, Washington. There were also three new deaths, including two people who died on February 26 and have now been identified as the first people who likely died from coronavirus in the U.S.
The seven cases in King County were described in a news release:
A female in her 40s, worked at LifeCare, never hospitalized and is recovering at home
A female in her 60s, family member of a confirmed case of COVID-19, not hospitalized
A male in his 70s, a frequent visitor of LifeCare, hospitalisation status unknown currently
A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
A male in his 20s, unknown exposure, hospitalized at Swedish Issaquah
A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Centre and died on 2/26/20
“This is a very fluid, fast-moving situation as we aggressively respond to this outbreak,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health for Seattle & King County said in a press release.
“People with suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 should reach out to their healthcare provider. As public health professionals we really appreciate clinicians on the front lines of patient care and they are critical to this response.”
The Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday that an employee of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office in suburban Seattle had tested positive for coronavirus. The employee had visited the elderly car facility that’s been the heart of Washington state’s outbreak, according to DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
“The employee had been coming to work in the intervening days between the possible exposure (Feb. 22) and becoming ill (Feb. 26),” Cuccinelli tweeted.
Washington currently has 27 confirmed cases and nine deaths, according to the state Health Department’s website. At least 231 people are currently under public health supervision.