YAKIMA — Four more Washington residents are reported dead from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Monday, March 2. All lived in the Seattle area. The latest deaths brings to six attributed to the COVID-19 in the United States, state health officials said.

Sunday, two elderly Washington people reportedly were the first deaths blamed on the COVID-19 in the United States.

Yakima County became aware it might have a victim of the disease, however late Monday, the tests returned negative of the highly contagious virus.

The Yakima Health District (YHD) was notified Friday, Feb. 28 of an individual whose recent travel history and symptoms were consistent with possible COVID-19, health officials had earlier reported.

They decided, out of an abundance of caution, to collect a specimen to send to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

YHD will notify the individual and the public with results when available.

Those officials have spent the past several weeks preparing for the possibility of Yakima County being affected by the outbreak.

Medical representatives said they will continue to work with county health care partners to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained, should it appear in the community.

Nationally, screening processes have been put in place for U.S. residents who are returning from areas experiencing active spread of COVID-19.

These processes are in place to quickly identify and prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

On Jan. 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced the first case in the United states COVID-19 in a Snohomish County resident. As of Feb. 28, 2020, DOH had announced two additional cases in the state of Washington. One case was believed to be travel related. Health officials are working diligently to identify how the patients were exposed, now believing some of the cases are community-spread.

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