Coronavirus: Earliest COVID-19 deaths in Bay Area occurred in February, not March

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS:

New test results confirm the novel coronavirus was responsible for deaths in the Bay Area earlier than medical officials initially believed.

Two individuals who died in Santa Clara County in February had tissue samples that tested positive for COVID-19, health officials learned Tuesday, revealing the novel coronavirus was responsible for deaths in the Bay Area earlier than medical officials initially believed.

County Executive Jeff Smith confirmed the test results were received Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after being sent to the federal agency by the Medical Examiner-Coroner.

The individuals who were tested posthumously for COVID-19 died at home on February 6 and February 17.

Those two deaths, as well as another death in San Jose on March 6, of a man who later tested positive for COVID-19, occurred before the first coronavirus death was publicly reported in Santa Clara County, on March 9. Health officials had previously believed that death — of 68-year-old Santa Clara resident Azar Ahrabi — to be the first known COVID-19 fatality in the Bay Area.

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