Home Coronavirus EDM Monday Briefing: US Now Has Two Coronavirus-Related Deaths
EDM Monday Briefing: US Now Has Two Coronavirus-Related Deaths

EDM Monday Briefing: US Now Has Two Coronavirus-Related Deaths


Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 2, 2020: Two people test positive for coronavirus at a long-term care facility in Washington; the second coronavirus-related death occurred on Saturday in Washington state; airlines across the globe are reeling from the impacts of reduced travel amid fears of the spreading coronavirus; gale-force winds and high waves encased homes along Hoover Beach in thick ice; a warehouse collapsed and a restaurant was heavily damaged in a four-alarm fire in San Francisco; first responder safety related to COVID-19 is addressed in a webinar training produced by EMS.gov; research shows particulate matter and volatile chemicals found in wildfire smoke are absorbed in the deep lung and bloodstream, causing a higher cancer and cardiovascular disease risk for firefighters; the SCEMA annual workshop takes place this week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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1) Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Washington, and one person in his 70s has died, the second U.S. victim of the coronavirus. One person who tested positive is a 40-year-old female healthcare worker who is at a local hospital and is currently listed in satisfactory condition. The other individual who tested positive is a 70-year-old woman who is hospitalized in serious condition. The facility, owned by Life Care Centers of America, has more than 50 patients and staff members who are reportedly sick and experiencing symptoms, which prompted testing and an investigation into a potential coronavirus outbreak at the facility by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2) A man who died on Saturday in King County, Washington, was the first coronavirus-related death in the United States. The man, who was in his fifties, was being treated for underlying medical causes at the EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland and had no history of travel. The governor has since declared a state of emergency, and several other cases of COVID-19 are awaiting confirmation from the CDC.

3) The rapid increase in coronavirus cases in Iran, Italy and South Korea is wreaking havoc across the airline industry. The outbreak also has heavily impacted Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific. The reduction in demand for travel, as fears rise in the wake of the coronavirus spread, has prompted the carrier to park half its fleet and cut nearly 75 percent of its flights at least through the end of March. About 25,000 employees of the company are also taking an unpaid leave in an attempt to reduce costs as the demand for air travel continues to decline amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

4) Homes and trees in Hamburg, New York, a town along the shores of Lake Erie, were completely encased in thick ice following gale-force winds, 18-foot waves, and a winter storm that lasted for two days. Residents noted that the ice was anywhere from one to three feet thick, and in some cases, the ice darkened the interior of their homes because it was so thick. Other towns east of Lake Erie were impacted with heavy lake effect snow, including Carthage, which had received four feet of snow as of Saturday.

5) A warehouse fire in San Francisco's Bay Area caused the building to collapse and seriously damaged a restaurant next door. The four-alarm fire occurred Saturday night around 9:00 p.m. and was fueled by high, gusty winds. The high winds sent thick smoke across Interstate 280, prompting its temporary closure. The winds also knocked down power lines, cutting power in areas around southern San Francisco. There were no reports of injuries, and the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

6) At least 25 first responders in Kirkland, Washington, have now been quarantined after potential exposure to the coronavirus at a local long-term care facility, straining response resources in that community. First responder protection from the coronavirus is critical to public health, so EMS.gov has developed an hour-long webinar training to provide pertinent information regarding the virus. Its contents include the basics of COVID-19, the latest guidance for 911 and EMS, along with recommendations for transportation and treatment of those possibly infected.

7) According to research, wildfire smoke contains particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and volatile chemicals including carcinogens, and is much more dangerous than previously considered. The most concerning factor could be the tiny particulate matter in the smoke that can actually be absorbed into the deep lung and bloodstream of a person. The tiny particulates – solid material of 2.5 microns or less – can cause lung irritation, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions. For wildland firefighters, breathing in these contaminants potentially translates to a higher risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

8) Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the location for the state's annual Emergency Management Association workshop, which is taking place this week. The conference allows emergency managers from across the state to be together in one room, which facilitates the sharing of best practices since no disaster affects two counties or locations the same way. The conference lasts until Thursday and includes training seminars such as damage assessment and animal assisted crisis response, along with equipment demonstrations, meetings, and vendors.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.