Photo Credit: NIAID-RML / flickr
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.

A man in his fifties with underlying health conditions has become the first person in the United States to die from the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Washington State health officials confirmed at a news conference Saturday.

Governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in the state to coordinate the response to the illness. Health officials in the state said a lack of testing may have led to cases not being identified, or identified as early as they might otherwise have been.

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A potential outbreak of coronavirus has also been identified at The LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, where two people were diagnosed with COVID-19. Kirkland is located just outside Seattle.

One of the patients, a female resident of the facility in her 70s, is currently listed in serious condition at a local hospital. The second is a health care worker at the facility in her 40s who is listed in satisfactory condition at the same hospital, according to Bloomberg News.

All of the residents and staff in the facility are being tested for the virus. More than 50 residents and staff have shown symptoms of a “respiratory illness” according to Jeff Duchin, public health officer in Seattle and King County who spoke with reporters on a conference call Saturday.

The local and state health department said in a statement that additional cases are expected from the facility.

At present there are at least 66 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the United States.

On Friday, officials in Washington State said a high school student on Snohomish County near Seattle was ill with the virus, as was a woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to South Korea.

Last week 83 residents of Nassau County, Long Island were asked to enter a 14-day self-quarantine after they were potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

83 People in Nassau County Self-Quarantine after Coronavirus Exposure

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, 175 people in Nassau County have undergone voluntary quarantine, according to Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein. Five residents were tested for the virus but all results came back negative.

According to the New York State Department of Health website, 20 people have been tested for the virus so far in the state outside of New York City, including the five in Long Island. There are six more that were tested for the virus within the five boroughs of the City of New York as well. So far, all the test results have come back negative.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.