Topline: California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after the state reported its first coronavirus death, making it the third state to declare an emergency in response to the disease.
- The first patient who died was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions in Placer County, which is north of Sacramento.
- The patient was a former passenger on the Grand Princess cruise, which departed from San Francisco to Mexico last month, raising concerns that others aboard may have been exposed, Newsom said. (The cruise company, Princess Cruises, also operated the Diamond Princess ship that was quarantined in Japan last month.)
- State health officials are working to contact people who were on the ship, and the vessel is currently being prevented from docking back in San Francisco while the CDC tests symptomatic passengers on board.
- Washington state, which has seen the most cases, and Florida have already declared states of emergencies.
- Practically, an emergency declaration loosens up regulations to allow state agencies to procure medical supplies and resources faster.
- There are 53 positive cases in the state, 24 of which involve patients who have been repatriated from abroad.
Crucial quote: “This proclamation, I want to point out, is not about money. It’s about resourcefulness. It’s about our ability to add tools to the tool kit,” Newsom said in a press conference.
News peg: Eleven people have died and more than 100 people have been infected by the coronavirus in the U.S. as officials brace for an outbreak. Public health experts say the U.S. should expect to see more cases in the coming weeks as the CDC begins to test more people after some early stumbles limiting its testing capacity.
I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.