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Emergency declared in California as cruise ship delayed off shore

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco on Feb. 11, 2020.Scott Strazzante / AP file

California has declared an emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, as tests continue Thursday on board a Princess cruise ship that has been linked to two cases of the illness in the state.

The first death in California related to coronavirus was confirmed Wednesday, while another fatality in Washington brought that state's death toll to 10.

Congressional leaders have agreed on an $8 billion emergency funding package to help fight the coronavirus that is headed to the House.

The virus is now spreading more rapidly outside China, where the epidemic started, with mainland China recording just 119 new confirmed cases while hundreds of cases were reported globally.

South Korea alone recorded an additional 516 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total to 5,328 confirmed cases, the largest outbreak outside of mainland China.

Governments around the world are introducing a range of measures to stop the spread of the disease. In Italy, where there have been more than 2,000 cases, all schools and colleges are shut for 10 days.

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9 deaths now reported in Washington

Medics transport a man on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care Center, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland, Washington on March 3, 2020.David Ryder / Reuters

Nine deaths have now been reported in Washington, the only state so far with coronavirus fatalities.

The majority have been in King County. One person died in Snohomish County. All are near Seattle.

As of Tuesday, there are a total of 31 coronavirus cases in the state, including the nine deaths. 

Read more about the situation in Washington state.

7th coronavirus death in Washington may have been state's first

A person in Washington state who died last week has since been confirmed to have had the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths so far in the state up to seven. 

UW Medicine officials said Tuesday the person, who had underlying health problems, had been transferred from the long-term care facility, Life Care Center in Kirkland on Feb. 24, and died two days later. Four other deaths in the state were also among residents of that facility.

It was not until after the patient's death that coronavirus infection was discovered. UW Medicine said some of its staff members may have been exposed to the virus, and are undergoing screening. 

Washington is the only state with fatalities so far. 

CDC: For most up-to-date case counts, look to states

State and local health departments have the most up-to-date information on coronavirus cases, the CDC said Tuesday.

The agency has changed how its report cases on its website. Moving forward, the case counts will be updated at noon each day, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

States are ramping up their testing capabilities, and reporting their results faster than the CDC will update its own site. That means the CDC's count may lag behind state counts, especially for cases that are confirmed later in the day.

There have been concerns that the CDC is not being upfront about how many cases are being tested. As testing shifts to the states, Messonnier said that the agency will no longer report the number of people being tested and the number of negative cases. 

The scene in Japan

Students sit apart from each other as they do self-study at an elementary school where the facility was opened for children who cannot stay at home alone while their parents are at work, in Nagoya, central Japan on March 3, 2020.Kyodo / via Reuters

Coronavirus worries create delays at Texas polling place

As millions of Americans are headed to the polls on Super Tuesday, coronavirus worries have caused problems in at least one voting location.

Travis County election officials in Austin, Texas, are implementing emergency procedures to fill in for multiple poll workers who didn’t show up to their stations because they were afraid of contracting the virus.

"It's been in the news just because they’ve been seeing it in the news and reading about what they find to be scary stats relating to it," said Victoria Hinojosa with the Travis County Clerk's Office. "A lot of them are older so their health is always a concern."

Sacramento has also reported some election clerks not showing up, according to Janna Haynes, Sacramento County Registrar of Voters public information officer.

The view from Super Tuesday

Residents cast their ballots during the presidential primary in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 3, 2020.Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images

IMF and World Bank say April meetings will be in 'virtual format'

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will hold their annual April meeting in a "virtual format," the two global financial institutions said Tuesday in a joint statement.

Instead of meeting in Washington, D.C., the April 13-19 gathering, which typically includes some 3,000 members, will be held via teleconference.

"Given growing health concerns related to the virus... we have agreed to implement a joint plan to adapt the 2020 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings to a virtual format," the organizations said in a statement released Tuesday.

"Our goal is to serve our membership effectively while ensuring the health and safety of Spring Meetings participants and staff. With this adapted format, we are confident that our member countries will be able to effectively engage on pressing global economic issues at these Spring Meetings,” the statement continued.

Florida confirms third case

A third case of the coronarvirus is being investigated in Hillsborough County, Florida, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted Tuesday.

The individual resides with someone who has tested positive for the virus, spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré said. That person, a woman in her 20s, had recently traveled to Italy.

New York Auto Show will proceed as planned, organizers say

The New York Auto Show will proceed as planned in April, according to a tweet from a Reuters reporter.

Organizers said they are "in communication with state and local officials" and that the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center "is taking precautionary measures inside the venue to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses."

The Beijing Auto Show, scheduled for April, was postponed in February, and the Geneva Motor Show was canceled just 96 hours prior to the event last week, due to a Swiss government ban on large gatherings.

Organizers for the 2020 North American International Auto Show, held annually in Detroit, said they "remain optimistic" that event will proceed in June.

Maryland governor: 'Stay informed'

Sign of the times, cont'd

Indonesia's commuter train officials distribute free-protective masks to the passengers following confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 3, 2020.Willy Kurniawan / Reuters