Two individuals who died in February tested positive for the new coronavirus, California health officials announced Tuesday, pushing the time frame for the first known virus-related deaths in the U.S. back several weeks.
The Santa Clara County medical examiner-coroner performed autopsies on two people who died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 and got confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday that they tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the county’s public health department.
The first known U.S. death from the coronavirus had previously been an individual in Washington state who died on Feb. 29.
The county medical examiner-coroner also confirmed that someone who died in the county on March 6 died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. A death on March 9 was previously believed to be the first coronavirus-related death in the county.
The virus was first discovered late last year in Wuhan, China, before it spread elsewhere and infecting millions of people around the globe.
There are now more than 800,000 positive cases and more than 45,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S., according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC recently started adding “probable” COVID-19 cases to its tally of coronavirus-related deaths.
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