The Seattle area continues to be the hardest hit region in the country from the coronavirus, with over 230 people currently under supervision for the virus and 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The latest death increase makes the United States the fifth hardest hit country in the world when it comes to COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the global spread of the virus.
Details about the new death reported by DOH on Wednesday could not be immediately confirmed by King County—Seattle Public Health.
Washington remains the hardest hit state in the country. The only other state with a reported death is California, as of Wednesday morning. Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Washington on Thursday with Gov. Jay Inslee. A spokesperson for Inslee was not able to confirm where the vice president would visit in the state.
COVID-19’s spread in Washington state has been partially caused by a slow response from the government, according to Trevor Bedford, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Bedford has said in blog posts that genetic testing of two COVID-19 cases in Washington showed evidence the virus has been spreading in the Seattle region unnoticed for six weeks.
“This lack of testing was a critical error and allowed an outbreak in Snohomish County and surroundings to grow to a sizable problem before it was even detected,” Bedford said in a blog posted Monday.