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Washington governor declares state of emergency after woman dies of coronavirus

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Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Saturday after a woman there died of COVID-19, the first death in the U.S. from the new coronavirus. Health officials also are investigating a possible outbreak of the disease at a nursing facility, where two people tested positive and dozens more showed symptoms.

A second person has been reported to have died in Washington Sunday.

In his emergency declaration, Inslee said the state would utilize "all necessary resources" to combat the outbreak of the disease, which has stricken more than 83,000 worldwide. As of Saturday, there are 71 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

More than 2,800 deaths from the disease have been reported, most in China where the new virus originated.

President Donald Trump held a press conference Saturday where he said that more COVID-19 cases are likely.

"Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight," Trump said. “She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s. Four others are very ill. Thankfully, 15 are either recovered fully or they're well on their way to recovery. And in all cases, they've been let go in their home."

More than 50 residents and staff from the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, are being tested for the virus. The long-term nursing facility is not accepting visitors as health officials investigate.

Spread of the new coronavirus sent stocks tumbling to its worst week since the Great Recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 3,500 points last week.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.