1st known US death occurred earlier than initially thought, autopsy says

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(ABC News) – California officials have confirmed what are now the earliest known deaths from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Santa Clara County announced late Tuesday that new autopsy results show two individuals who died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 were positive for COVID-19. The individuals were not tested for the virus because they died when very limited testing was available only through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a statement from the county in Northern California.

“Testing criteria set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms,” Santa Clara County said in a statement.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/APMembers of the Los Angele Fire Department wear protective equipment at a COVID-19 testing site in the Skid Row district of Los Angeles, California, on April 20, 2020.Members of the Los Angele Fire Department wear protective equipment at a COVID-19 testing site in the Skid Row district of Los Angeles, California, on April 20, 2020.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The United States previously recorded its first official fatality from COVID-19 on Feb. 28 — an individual in Washington state’s King County.

However, health officials later discovered that two people at a Seattle-area nursing home had also died from the disease on Feb. 26.

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