New evidence indicates that COVID-19 hit the state of California at least as far back as early February.
On Tuesday, Santa Clara County Public Health officials announced that an autopsy revealed a patient died of the virus, which originated in China, on February 6, roughly three weeks prior to the first U.S. confirmed COVID-19 death in Washington State on February 29.
The first coronavirus death in Santa Clara County was initially marked on March 9. As of this writing, the county has 88 coronavirus-related deaths with another 1,948 reported cases.
“The Medical Examiner-Coroner performed autopsies on two individuals who died at home on February 6, 2020 and February 17, 2020,” the announcement said. “Samples from the two individuals were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, the Medical Examiner-Coroner received confirmation from the CDC that tissue samples from both cases are positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). ”