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Death total from coronavirus in Washington state hits 54

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 4:51 pm PDT

Laurie Kuypers, a registered nurse, reaches into a car to take a nasopharyngeal swab from a patient at a drive-through COVID-19 coronavirus testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Seattle. The appointment-only drive-through clinic began a day earlier. Health authorities in Washington reported more COVID19 deaths in the state that has been hardest hit by the outbreak. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Summary

Clark County health officials announced their first fatal cases

The pandemic has also affected ABC, CBS and NBC

In Spain, the recorded number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 10,000, with close to 500 deaths

SEATTLE (AP) – The total number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in Washington state reached 54 on Tuesday as health officials announced six more, while the pandemic is taking its toll around the world.

King County reported three more people have died, bringing that region’s total to 46. Clark County health officials announced their first fatal cases, a husband and wife in their 80s, while Snohomish County said a fifth person has died.

The Clark County couple was hospitalized at Peace Health Southwest Medical Center last week and died Monday night, according to health officials. One had been living in a small adult family home, and the other was a resident of an assisted living community.

“This is a horrible tragedy,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time.”

Washington has the highest number of deaths in the U.S., with most being associated with a nursing home in Kirkland. By Tuesday, the number of positive cases topped 1,000.

Gov. Jay Inslee imposed strict new rules this week to help slow the spread of COVID-19. He mandated an immediate two-week closure of all restaurants, bars recreational facilities. He also expanded the limits on large gatherings.

The new orders went into effect Monday night and will be in place through March 31.

Meanwhile, six people tested positive at CBS, including five in the media organization’s New York offices. The pandemic has also affected CBS and NBC.

In San Francisco, the streets look like a ghost town as the city ordered a shelter in place. Still, the mayor of San Francisco says there’s no need to panic.

“Essential government services like our police, our fire or transit and sanitation will continue,” said Mayor London Breed.

The situation is more dire overseas.

Police in France are patrolling streets, stopping anyone outside to contain the spread of the virus as COVID-19 cases there has topped more 6,600, including almost 150 deaths.

The recorded number of COVID-19 cases in Spain has now surpassed 10,000, with close to 500 deaths.

As the government there tries to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, 47 million people have been ordered to stay home, while the border with Portugal and France have been closed except for commercial reasons.

Food, medicine and a few items deemed essential are still available for purchase, but the general consumption market is way down, according Irene Preklet, with ABC News.

In Russia, health officials have ordered coronavirus testing for everyone who has returned from European countries in the past two weeks.

Elsewhere in Europe, there are traffic jams at some borders due to closures and increased screening for the virus. Poland largely closed it borders to foreigners, creating lineups of trucks into Lithuania 60-kilometres long.

-with files from Irene Preklet with ABC News