Washington state confirms 10th coronavirus death

Health officials in Washington state confirmed another death in a patient with the novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total number of fatalities to 10. According to the state’s department of public health, nine of the fatalities have been reported in King County, while one other was reported in Snohomish County.

An additional COVID-19-related fatality was reported in California on Wednesday, bringing the national death toll to 11.

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A total of 39 positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Washington state, which is also dealing with an outbreak of the virus at a nursing care and rehabilitation facility in Kirkland. At a press conference on Wednesday, officials said a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with staff at the Life Care Center on infection control.

"This is a very stressful situation for the families of the residents of the center and for loved ones, and I want to emphasize how distressing we understand this is, and again extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family members of those who have died and are ill," Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for public health Seattle and King County, said.

King County Executive Dow Constantine also said health officials were recommending additional steps to stifle the outbreak which includes older people with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant stay home and avoid large gatherings "as much as possible."

"We are encouraging employers to maximize telecommuting and to make it possible for employees who can work from home to do so," Constantine said. "Community groups should avoid creating large gatherings."

He also urged those who are sick to stay home and to call health care providers ahead of time before seeking medical attention.

Vice President Mike Pence also said on Wednesday that he would be traveling to Olympia, Wash. on Thursday to meet with local officials and that he wants to "ensure the people of Washington state and California that we are with them."

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"We will ensure full resources of the federal government are brought to those struggling with this illness," Pence said.