California county may have traced earliest United States coronavirus deaths

The coronavirus was killing Americans in the United States weeks before health officials, doctors or the government realized, it emerged early on Wednesday.

Health authorities of Santa Clara County in the western USA state of California confirmed Tuesday that two patients had died of COVID-19 at least three weeks before the first known us death from the novel coronavirus disease on February 29 in Kirkland in Washington State.

Santa Clara County had previously identified its first case of community transmission on February 28, Dr Cody said.

It was previously believed that the first U.S. victim of the virus was a man in Washington state who died on February 29.

According to a statement issued by the Northern California county's Emergency Operations Center, the Medical Examiner-Coroner performed autopsies on two individuals who died at home in early February, and received results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, which showed both tested positive for COVID-19.

The county also announced that the March 9 death of a third person - a 70-year-old man - also was coronavirus-related.

FILE - In this March 16, 2020 photo, Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer, speaks during a press conference headed by public health directors spanning six Bay Area counties in San Jose, Calif.

The criteria at the time by the CDC restricted testing to individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms.

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"As the Medical Examiner-Coroner continues to carefully investigate deaths throughout the county, we anticipate additional deaths from COVID-19 will be identified", the statement said.

Santa Clara was among the first areas in the U.S. to tell residents to stay at home to contain the spread of the virus, ordering a shutdown from March 17.

"This will go to the obvious questions and queries that all of us are asking: When?"

And the fact that it took astute health officials to carry out post mortem examinations on these selected cases in turn means that the overall death toll of 45,000 is likely well below the real number.

Newsom said he wants the state to test at least 25,000 people a day by the end of April.

According to John Hopkins Saturday night current report, United States have recorded 2,494 more coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours.

California has been under a mandatory, statewide stay-at-home order for more than a month.

  • Ismael Montgomery