Virus Outbreak US

Antonia Lopez, a contract phlebotomist, takes a break from her work at Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing facility where more than 50 people are sick and being tested for the COVID-19 virus, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Kirkland, Wash.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Saturday after a person there died of COVID-19, the first death in the U.S. from the new coronavirus. Health officials also are investigating a possible outbreak of the disease at a nursing facility, where two people tested positive and dozens more showed symptoms.

In his emergency declaration, Inslee said the state would utilize "all necessary resources" to combat the outbreak of the disease, which has stricken more than 83,000 worldwide. As of Saturday, there are 71 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

More than 2,800 deaths from the disease have been reported, most in China where the new virus originated.

President Donald Trump held a press conference Saturday where he said that more COVID-19 cases are likely.

APTOPIX Trump Virus Outbreak

President Donald Trump, left, listens to Vice President Mike Pence, right, as he pauses while speaking to members of the media to address the nation about the coronavirus threat in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

"Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight," Trump said.

More than 50 residents and staff from the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, are being tested for the virus. The long-term nursing facility is not accepting visitors as health officials investigate.

Spread of the new coronavirus sent stocks tumbling to its worst week since the Great Recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 3,500 points last week.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

– The Center Square

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.