The state of California has reported its first coronavirus death, taking the total death toll in the United States to 11 with 154 confirmed cases, authorities said.
The patient, an elderly adult with underlying health conditions living in Placer County, died in isolation at a hospital on Wednesday, reports Xinhua press agency.
The victim had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and in most probability had been infected sometime between February 11-21 during a cruise from San Francisco to Mexico in February.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient," Placer County Health Officer Aimee Sisson told the media on Wednesday evening.
"While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see."
Health officials said the person had minimal community exposure after coming back from the cruise and getting to the hospital.
All 15 healthcare workers who were exposed to the patient are now in quarantine and none of them exhibits symptoms.
However, it's possible that other cruise passengers may have also been exposed, Placer County Public Health said, adding they were are working closely with Sacramento County Public Health and therefore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to spot and get in touch with other cruise passengers.
Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency within the state following the news of the death.
"The state of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus," Xinhua press agency quoted Newsom as saying during a statement on Wednesday.
"This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly."
This is the first coronavirus death in the US to occur outside of Washington state, where the 10th fatality was also confirmed on Wednesday.