LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County reported its first death related to the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday, as health officials announced six additional cases, bringing the county's total to 27.
A woman over the age of 60 died in the county after contracting COVID-19, health officials said. The woman, who has not been publically identified, was visiting friends in LA County and had underlying health conditions.
“We extend our deepest condolences to her family and her friends and we’re really sorry to be making this announcement today,” County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer told reporters Wednesday.
The woman reportedly had extensive travel over the past month including a long layover in South Korea.
No other specifics about the woman were released, including an exact location of the hospital where she died.
The county also announced six additional confirmed cases, including a second of unknown origin, meaning the individual was believed to have contracted the virus through community spread. Three of the additional patients are "household contacts" of a previously confirmed case in LA County, one of those three patients is hospitalized. The fifth case was a person who recently traveled internationally to France and returned home ill. The last case announced Wednesday was an individual who recently traveled to a religious conference in another state and was in close contact with a person at the conference who later tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the fourth coronavirus death reported in the state of California.
The first coronavirus death in the state was reported March 4 after a 71-year-old man with underlying health conditions died after contracting COVID-19 in Placer County. The man was likely exposed during international travel from Feb. 11 to 21 on the Grand Princess cruise ship that left from San Francisco to Mexico, the health department said.
The second was reported March 9 after a Santa Clara County woman in her 60s died after being hospitalized with the virus for several weeks. The woman reportedly caught the virus without any known history of international travel or contact with an infected person, authorities said.
The third was announced Tuesday after an elderly patient in Sacramento County died from coronavirus in an assisted living facility. The patient was in her 90s, officials said.
Breakdown of confirmed cases in LA County:
• Eight people in the travel group to Italy
• Two contract employees who were conducting coronavirus medical screenings of arriving passengers at Los Angeles International Airport
• Two relatives of a person who lives outside the county and was also confirmed with the virus
• A traveler from the area of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. That person, the county's first, has since recovered
• A resident who recently returned from attending the AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C., where there was a known exposure to a person who was positive for the virus
• A resident who recently traveled to Japan
• One case of unknown origin
• Three residents in the city of Long Beach. Two of which traveled internationally and one who traveled domestically, all to areas with known community transmission
• A resident who recently returned from Iran
• Three people who are "household contacts" of a previously confirmed case in the county, one of which is hospitalized
• A resident who traveled internationally in France and returned home ill
• A person who traveled to a religious conference in another state and was a close contact of a person at the conference who tested positive for COVID-19
• A second case of unknown origin
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should call their healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Public health officials recommended that people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and people who are elderly adopt some "social distancing" practices immediately. This includes avoiding non-essential travel, avoiding public gatherings and avoiding event venues.
Although officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging residents to be prepared, they say you're still more likely to contract the flu than coronavirus.
The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including novel coronavirus, are:
• Stay home if you are sick. Sick people make well people sick.
• If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor.
• Certain patients, such as the elderly, those that are immune-compromised or have underlying health conditions should call their doctor earlier.
• If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Get immunized against the flu to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.
Numerous events in the county have been canceled or postponed due to growing concerns over coronavirus. Click here for a full list.