SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California Governor Gavin Newsom declares statewide emergency due to threat of new coronavirus, becoming third US state to do so.
Newsom announced the measure at a news conference Wednesday, saying it was intended to help procure supplies quickly.
The proclamation comes as the number of positive California cases rise, following one official COVID-19 death.
The proclamation builds on work already underway by the California Department of Public Health, California Health and Human Services Agency, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and other agencies that have been on the front lines of the state’s response to COVID-19 since January.
“The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” said Governor Newsom. “This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.”
On Tuesday, Newsom announced the release of millions of N95 masks to address shortages caused by COVID-19. The governor said the state currently has 53 cases of COVID-19.
Health officials in Northern California say the elderly man who had other health conditions died Wednesday at a hospital in Roseville where he was in isolation.
The man was likely exposed to the virus while he traveled in February on a Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico, officials said in a statement.
Washington State has also reported a tenth death from the virus.
The Washington state Department of Health released updated figures Wednesday morning, showing that nine people had died in King County, the state’s most populous, and one person in Snohomish County. Washington state has now reported 39 COVID-19 cases, all in the greater Seattle area.
No other information about the newly reported Washington state death was immediately available.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington on Sunday said they had evidence COVID-19 may have been circulating in the state for up to six weeks undetected. If true, that could mean that there are hundreds of undiagnosed cases in the area.
Officials in Los Angeles have signed proclamations of local emergencies after six new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the county, where there was one previously.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the county Department of Public Health, said Wednesday that all of the COVID-19 cases were due to a known exposure and not the result of so-called community transmission. She said one person was hospitalized and five others were in self-quarantine at home.
The emergency declarations in the county and city are aimed at aiding efforts to respond to the virus and free up resources. Authorities are also assisting shelters to prevent transmission of the virus in the homeless population.