California governor declares state of emergency after first coronavirus death

The declaration comes the same day as the first coronavirus fatality in the state

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 4, 2020 - 11:01pm

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California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared a state of emergency to help his state respond to the coronavirus health scare.

The move came on the same day that the Golden State suffered its first coronavirus fatality.

Newsom explained that a cruise ship is being held off the California coast so passengers can be tested for coronavirus before disembarking. He said that there are currently 53 cases in his state, which includes 24 repatriated people.

“The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” Newsom said in a press release. “This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.”

In total, eleven people have died in the U.S., including one in California and ten in Washington state.