Officials in Washington State have confirmed four new deaths from Wuhan coronavirus in King County, bringing the state’s death toll to six.
Several deaths and other confirmed cases of the coronavirus are centered around a nursing home in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle. Several residents and workers at the home have reported illness, while one quarter of Kirkland’s fire department was under quarantine after visiting the home and a local college moved to clean its campus after several students visited the home.
“Given the movement of people around the state, it is possible the virus is spreading in other counties, too,” Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington’s health officer, told reporters. Lofy said the state was expanding testing capacity to about 200 requests per day, while King County executive Dow Constantine signed an emergency declaration for the county.
Ninety-six Americans have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, including the five who died of the illness in Washington. Genetic analysis of coronavirus cases in Washington State has led researchers to suspect the disease may have been circulating for six weeks before the first case in the state was detected.
Several cases have been confirmed in other states, including California and New York. On Monday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s first patient is a health care worker who had recently traveled in Iran, center of the largest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East. Cuomo said the patient had not used public transportation when she returned from Iran, and urged New York City residents to remain calm.
“There is no reason for undue anxiety—the general risk remains low in NY. We are diligently managing this situation &will provide info as it becomes available,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter.