OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Health officials in California announced the state’s first death due to coronavirus on Wednesday, according to Newsmax.

This death occurred just hours after Los Angeles declared a local emergency over the outbreak.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency after six new cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 strain were identified within the Los Angeles area.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, revealed that all six cases are connected to “an assumed known exposure.”

Kathryn Barger, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, told reporters that she signed the proclamation to free up state and federal funding.

U.S. fatalities have increased to at least 11 due to the virus.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,”said 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,” she added.

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Barger said, “I want to reiterate that this is not a response rooted in panic. We need every tool at our disposal.”

“There’s been too much misinformation spreading around. As we expected, it’s cultivating fears and leading to racial profiling,” she continued.

Dr. Ferrer said, “We will ensure that people who test positive for the novel coronavirus and their close contacts are quickly identified and closely monitored and supported while they are in isolation and/or quarantined.”

The coronavirus has possibly been circulating undetected for six weeks in the U.S. and has possibly infected scores of people, according to a new report.

The researchers conducted genetic sequencing of two virus samples.

Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said two samples were almost identical genetically from two patients.

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One patient traveled to China in mid-January and was the first person diagnosed with the disease in the United States.

The other patient who was recently diagnosed in the same county is a high school student with no travel-related or other known exposure to the coronavirus.

“This strongly suggests that there has been cryptic transmission in Washington State for the past 6 weeks,” Bedford wrote.

“I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China.”

Officials in Seattle and King County on Sunday announced that two more people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Both patients are men in their 60s and are in critical condition.

This totals eight cases in Washington state, six of them in the same county.