Coronavirus: U.S. Death Toll Now At 14; New Case In Pennsylvania
Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET
At least 14 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus disease COVID-19, after a Seattle-area hospital confirmed two additional deaths Thursday night. There are now confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 22 states, after the pathogen was found in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Colorado.
The two deaths occurred at EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, Wash., bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities there to 11, a hospital representative told NPR on Friday morning. Most of the patients who died had been residents of the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home identified as the site of a coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to the 11 people who have died at EvergreenHealth, two people have died elsewhere in Washington state and one person in California has died.
The University of Washington is halting all in-person classes due to the coronavirus outbreak, telling students they should attend online sessions instead, starting Monday. The school says all final exams "will not be conducted in person, but may be conducted online when feasible, and at the instructor's discretion."
The university's move is meant to support social distancing – maintaining roughly 6 feet of personal space. The CDC says that in areas experiencing an outbreak, the practice can "limit exposure by reducing face-to-face contact and preventing spread among people in community settings."
Coronavirus spreads in the U.S.
Cases of coronavirus have now been reported in more than 20 states, including Washington state with at least 70 and California with at least 60.
New York has 33 confirmed cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday, adding that roughly 4,000 people are under "precautionary quarantine" due to possible exposure or other circumstances.
Two cases have been reported in Nevada, and one of those cases is a Reno man who is linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship — the vessel that's been prevented from docking along the California coast after a former passenger died from COVID-19. The Nevada man's "condition is stable and he is self-isolating at home," according to the Washoe County Health District, which includes Reno.
The other Nevada case is in Clark County. Both of the Nevada cases involve men who are in their 50s.
Overall, there are now more than 240 coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to a tracking tool created by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. That figure includes more than 40 people who were repatriated from outbreak sites in China and Japan.
Worldwide, the number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000, including more than 80,000 in China.
Cruise ship stays away from San Francisco docks
U.S. officials are closely watching for a potential outbreak on a cruise ship currently in limbo some 50 miles off the California coast.
A former passenger on the Grand Princess died from COVID-19 in California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom says at least 21 people aboard the ship have symptoms of the disease.
The Grand Princess had been returning to San Francisco after a cruise to Hawaii, but it's now being kept away from port while a small portion of the roughly 3,500 people on board are tested for the coronavirus.
Coast Guard helicopters have been ferrying coronavirus test kits back and forth from the ship; the initial results of those tests were expected to emerge Friday.
Samples were collected from 45 people Thursday, according to Princess Cruises.
Officials are also working to track down thousands of people who were on an earlier cruise from San Francisco to Mexico and might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
U.S. coronavirus testing had 'missteps'
More laboratories around the U.S. are finally gaining the ability to test for the coronavirus disease, after what Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calls "missteps" in the federal government's plan to create, produce and distribute tests.
Six U.S. states — Alabama, Maine, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming — currently have no labs with the verified ability to run COVID-19 diagnostic tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday afternoon.
"We're not there yet, but soon," Fauci said of the effort to make testing more widely available.
As NPR's Allison Aubrey reports, "Some academic hospitals are developing their own tests and commercial options are expanding really quickly." The results, she adds, "can take three or four days" before they're reported to local health officials and the CDC.
Vice President Pence acknowledged a shortage of tests on Thursday, saying, "We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward."
To address the growing crisis, President Trump signed an emergency funding package worth some $8 billion Friday morning. The president had been scheduled to sign the coronavirus bill at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, but instead he opted to sign it at the White House before leaving on a trip to Tennessee and Florida.
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