California declares state of emergency over coronavirus death, cruise ship held off coast

California declares state of emergency over coronavirus death, cruise ship held off coast
Source: LATimes

An elderly person infected with the new coronavirus (nCoV) in California died on March 4, causing the state to declare an emergency. The 71-year-old man reportedly had underlying health issues prior to contracting the deadly virus and was onboard the Mexico-bound Grand Princess cruise ship from February 11 to 21.

According to the local health department, those who were in contact with the patient, including 10 healthcare workers and five emergency responders, have been placed in isolation.

The man’s death has brought the total death toll from the virus to 11 in the United States as of March 4. The other ten fatalities were reported in Washington State. At least 150 cases have been registered so far in 16 states across the US. A total of 53 cases have reportedly been recorded in the state of California, including 24 repatriated individuals.

Cruise ship passengers tested

The Grand Princess cruise ship that departed from Hawaii and was headed toward San Francisco reportedly has 21 suspected cases after showing novel coronavirus symptoms. Test kits are being airlifted to the ship that is currently being held off the coast of California. There are at least 3,000 people on board. The test results will be flown to a lab in Richmond, Virginia.

According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the cruise ship is contaminated with the novel coronavirus as dozens on board have shown symptoms.

“That cruise that ended on the 21st, that same ship, set sail a few days later to Hawaii. That cruise ship is making its way back towards the State of California specifically back to the city and county of San Francisco. It was due to arrive this evening. We’ve requested for it to be delayed to provide ample opportunity for CDC partnership with coast guard and state health officials to conduct tests because we have a number of passengers and crew members who have developed symptoms in the Grand Princess cruise ship,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference held on March 4.

US$8.3 billion allocated

On March 4, the US House of Representatives voted to pass a spending package allocating US$8.3 billion to combat the virus.

The White House is expected to approve the response package after it goes through the Senate. The funding package far exceeds the initial US$2.5 billion requested by the White House in February.