Puyallup woman is Pierce County's first death related to COVID-19

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A woman in her 50s became the first person to die in Pierce County because of complications related to COVID-19, health officials said.

According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, the Puyallup woman was admitted into MultiCare Good Samaritan Hosptial on March 6. She died less than two weeks later.

The woman had multiple underlying health conditions, officials said.

“Our hearts go out to the woman’s friends, family and the many people who know and cared about her in the Puyallup community,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH.  “This underscores the threat COVID-19 poses to our county, our state and the world. We all must do our part to prevent the spread.”

The Health Department planned to give more information at a 1:00 p.m. news conference Wednesday.

    More than 50 people have died from coronavirus in Washington state as of March 18.

    Here's more information on COVID-19 from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department:

    Am I at risk? 
    The current risk of COVID-19 in Washington is increasing. Public health is identifying more positive cases of the disease in the state. These increasing cases suggest the disease is spreading in Washington. As we continue to test more people, we expect to find more positive cases. People most at risk traveled internationally to an affected area and have symptoms:
    Shortness of breath.
    If you think you were at risk of exposure to COVID-19, call ahead before you go to your healthcare provider, urgent care, or the emergency department.  

    What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19? 
    Currently, no vaccine exists for COVID-19. You can take steps to protect yourself and people around you from this and other diseases:
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    Avoid close contact with others.
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
    Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
    Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.
    It’s cold and flu season. These more common respiratory illnesses have affected our communities—especially the flu. So far this season, 10 adults and two children have died from flu-related complications. The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. It’s not too late to get your flu shot. Learn more at www.tpchd.org/flu. 

    What are coronaviruses? 
    Coronaviruses aren’t new. They form a large family of viral illnesses that includes the common cold. Experts have not previously identified the coronavirus in the current outbreak. We continue to learn more about it. 

    How do coronaviruses spread? 
    The most common ways human coronaviruses spread:
    Coughing and sneezing.
    Contact with a sick person—within six feet—for 10 minutes or more.
    Contact with an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.