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COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Second coronavirus patient dies Saturday in King County; officials await test results in Spokane

UPDATED: Sun., March 1, 2020

Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County, addresses a news conference, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Seattle. King County Public Health announced on Sunday that two new cases of the respiratory disease COVID-19 had been confirmed through testing. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County, addresses a news conference, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Seattle. King County Public Health announced on Sunday that two new cases of the respiratory disease COVID-19 had been confirmed through testing. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

A second patient in Western Washington has died after testing positive for COVID-19, King County Public Health reported Sunday evening.

The man who died was in his 70s and had been a resident at an elderly care facility in Kirkland, where officials are monitoring more than 50 people. The man died Saturday, the public health authority reported, and he had had prior health conditions before becoming sick from the coronavirus.

The man is the second to die in the United States from the respiratory disease. The agency also reported an additional three cases Sunday night, all among patients older than 70 with previous health concerns. The patients, another man in his 70s, a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 90s, were being treated at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. They were listed in critical condition Sunday evening.

The announcement Sunday night brings the total number of King County cases of the disease to 10, the agency said. All remain hospitalized, except a 50-year-old woman with a confirmed case who had been released and was recovering at home, King County health said in a statement.

The King County Executive’s Office planned a news conference Monday to address the latest cases and deaths.

On Sunday morning, King County Public Health reported two other confirmed cases. They are two men in their 60s, both of whom had underlying health conditions. One man is being treated at Valley Medical Center in Renton, and is in critical but stable condition. The other man is at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, and he is in critical condition, the public health authority reported.

Snohomish County also reported an additional presumptive positive case of a man in his 40s. He is also being treated at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland and is in critical condition. He’s the third identified patient with the disease in Snohomish County, including the first U.S. patient to test positive for the disease that was first reported in China. That man was treated with an experimental drug and released from the hospital.

Four additional cases in King County were announced on Saturday, including the first man who died.

The U.S. Postal Service said Sunday they were aware one of the reported cases in King County included an employee at their distribution center in Federal Way.

“This employee had recently returned from overseas travel and this incident is not mail-related,” a corporate spokesman said in an email.

The Postal Service is working with King County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety of employees, according to the statement. Workers do not interact with customers at the facility in Everett.

In Spokane County, officials were awaiting the test results of a patient showing signs of COVID-19. Kelli Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District, said delivery of the sample for testing to a lab in Shoreline would not be made Sunday.

Once the lab receives the specimen it takes 24 hours for verified test results, Hawkins said.

Five other people remain under observation, the health district said Saturday.

Two patients who were treated at the special pathogens unit of Sacred Heart Medical Center have been released. Four patients were brought to the Spokane hospital last month for treatment.

The two remaining patients at Sacred Heart remained in satisfactory condition on Sunday, Hawkins said.

Gonzaga University released a statement to staff and students on Sunday morning, indicating the school was encouraging students returning from study abroad programs in Italy to monitor themselves for symptoms for up to two weeks and take their temperature twice daily, per the guidelines of the World Health Organization.

The school announced earlier this week that it was suspending studies in its Florence program for the spring due to reported cases in Italy.

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