March 4 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes, Rachel Bowman and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:15 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020
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4:25 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Los Angeles County declares health emergency due to coronavirus concerns

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a Los Angeles County Health Department press conference on the novel coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 4, in Los Angeles, 
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a Los Angeles County Health Department press conference on the novel coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 4, in Los Angeles,  Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Public Health have declared a local and public health emergency in response to the spread of coronavirus across the country, which includes six additional cases in L.A. County.

None of the new cases are from community spread and all the new cases were exposed to coronavirus through close contacts, the country said in a statement.

None of the cases were linked to the first case reported in L.A. County in January.

“These declarations are a swift response to this emergent issue and will enhance our ability to effectively manage our response,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “These actions will allow us to have even greater coordination to protect our more than 10 million residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

For more information on how Los Angeles County is preparing for the spread of the virus, visit its website here.

4:51 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

United Airlines cuts flights in the US and internationally as coronavirus shrinks demand

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Julio Cortez/AP?FILE
Julio Cortez/AP?FILE

United Airlines became the first airline to pull back on its US flight schedule as passengers worry about the coronavirus has caused a sharp drop in demand.

The Chicago-based company will cut flights in the United States and Canada by 10% and overseas flights by 20% in April, according to an email sent to employees which was made available to CNN.


3:53 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Princess cruise line warns travelers of coronavirus

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

At least two California residents who have contracted coronavirus, including the Placer County resident who died, recently traveled aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. 

The other patient is a Sonoma County resident who is currently hospitalized. 

Princess sent an advisory to guests who were on the February 11-21 sailing and those who are currently aboard the ship.

"Please be assured that the health, safety, and well-being of all guests and crew are our absolute priority. The CDC is continuing to actively collect information and has set up a meeting with us this morning to determine what, if any, actions need to be taken during this cruise and on arrival in San Francisco. We have shared essential travel and health data with the CDC to facilitate their standard notification to the state and county health authorities to follow up with individuals who may have been exposed to people who became ill," the advisory states.

CNN has reached out to Princess Cruises for more info.

3:48 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

NYC Department of Education head says school closings will be a "last resort"

Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Richard A. Carranza NYC Media

During a news conference today with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Richard A. Carranza, the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, said closing schools will be a "last resort."

This comes as the SAR Academy and High School — where a student with a confirmed case of coronavirus attends school — has voluntarily closed.

Mayor de Blasio said they currently have the capacity to go to remote learning if necessary.

Schools and districts across the country are taking preventative measures and are in contact with their state and local health departments, which will advise school officials on best practices and next steps as the outbreak goes on. 

3:48 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Several US colleges have canceled basketball games over coronavirus fears

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

The Western Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that two universities will not be participating in previously scheduled games this week citing coronavirus concerns.

Chicago State University’s men’s basketball team, who were set to travel to Seattle University tomorrow and Utah Valley University on Saturday, will no longer be making the trip. The school’s women’s basketball home games against the same opponents will also be cancelled.

The WAC also announced that the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s men’s basketball team won’t be traveling to Seattle for its game on Saturday. 

Chicago State University released a statement today announcing that the school is “restricting all travel for university approved student and faculty study abroad, as well as scheduled games for university sporting events on the west coast including Washington State and Utah.” due to the current spread of the coronavirus.

“While disappointed that the situation has evolved as it has, I fully respect the right of any member institution to determine what it believes to in the best interest of its student-athletes,” said WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd. “From a conference standpoint, the necessary adjustments will be made according to NCAA policy in order to bracket the conference tournament scheduled for March 11-14 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.”

3:04 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

CDC expands coronavirus testing criteria to all US patients with a doctor’s order

From CNN's Arman Azad

This is a picture of CDC's laboratory test kit for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
This is a picture of CDC's laboratory test kit for the 2019 novel coronavirus. CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dramatically expanded the testing criteria for the novel coronavirus today. The CDC formally removed earlier restrictions that limited coronavirus testing of the general public to people in the hospital, unless they had a close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case. 

According to the CDC, clinicians should now “use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”

The new criteria formalizes Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement, made Tuesday night, that “any American can be tested (for coronavirus), no restrictions, subject to doctors’ orders.”

Unless a patient had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient, the earlier criteria limited testing to people who had been hospitalized with both a fever and respiratory symptoms.

Some context: Questions remain about whether the United States can meet a possible surge in testing demand. 

Two coronavirus tests in the United States currently have Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations and are in use nationwide. These include CDC test kits, which have been distributed to public health laboratories across the country, and another test designed and used by New York state. 

Under rules issued Feb. 29, the FDA is also allowing hospitals, private companies and laboratories to develop other diagnostic tests that can be used before the FDA issues an emergency use authorization.

3:52 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

California records its first coronavirus death

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a Los Angeles County Health Department press conference on the novel coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 4, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a Los Angeles County Health Department press conference on the novel coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 4, in Los Angeles. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The death of a patient in Placer County marks the first coronavirus-related death in California.

The patient was elderly and had underlying health conditions, according to Placer County Public Health. 

The patient was likely exposed during international travel from Feb. 11 to 21 on a Princess cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico, the release continues, adding that the patient was in isolation at Kaiser Permanente Roseville.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see. 

“While most cases of COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this tragic death underscores the urgent need for us to take extra steps to protect residents who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions,” Sisson added.

Ten health care workers and five emergency workers who had contact with the patient are quarantined, but not exhibiting symptoms.

2:31 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

There are now 149 cases of coronavirus in the US

There are 149 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 10 deaths, in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments. 

According to the CDC, there are 49 cases from repatriated citizens. According to CNN Health’s tally of cases that are detected and tested through the US public health systems, there are 100 cases in 13 states. Bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 149.

This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases have received positive results from the CDC.

Here's a state-by-state breakdown of the US cases:

  1. Arizona – 2 
  2. California – 33
  3. Florida - 3
  4. Georgia - 2
  5. Illinois - 4 
  6. Massachusetts - 2
  7. New Hampshire – 2
  8. New York - 6
  9. North Carolina - 1 
  10. Oregon - 3
  11. Rhode Island - 2 
  12. Washington state - 39 (includes 10 fatalities) 
  13. Wisconsin - 1
2:18 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

At least 10 people have died in Washington state from coronavirus

A 10th person has died from Coronavirus in Washington state, the state’s health department website confirmed today

The death occurred in King County.

In total, the state has reported 39 cases, up from 27 reported earlier.