In addition to the three cases announced last week — including one woman who died at home on February 6 and whose case is so far the earliest known COVID-19 death in the U.S. — Santa Clara County's medical examiner has now found six additional cases that have turned up positive for the coronavirus, post-mortem.
The news was delivered via a letter to the county's Board of Supervisors on Friday, and as KPIX reports, the medical examiner says there are still several more cases pending. No dates or details on the six additional COVID-19 fatalities were given, which means that one or more might have occurred before the February 6 death of 57-year-old Patricia Dowd of San Jose.
While Santa Clara County emerged as an early hotspot in the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., it did so only after the first confirmed cases in the state were in Southern California, and after the first U.S. cases were identified in Washington State. As medical examiners, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control, continue to perform posthumous tests on recent deaths, more early COVID-19 cases may yet emerge.
Dowd died suddenly after experience some reportedly mild flu-like symptoms in early February, and it remains unclear if she had had any contacts or did any traveling in January that might explain where she contracted the virus. She was found dead by her daughter hours after emailing with a coworker and having told people she was feeling better.
In the days since her case was identified, the Washington Post reported that there's been a surge of stroke cases among young and middle-aged people infected with the coronavirus, suggesting that blood-clotting issues caused by the virus may be the key factor in mortalities among younger patients.
Photo: Erkan Utu