SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Santa Cruz health officials announced the county’s first death from the current coronavirus outbreak — a man in his early 70s.

The victim, who died Saturday, had an underlying health condition and was hospitalized March 19 with symptoms that included fever and shortness of breath. A test confirmed he was positive for COVID-19.

The fatality increased the death toll in the San Francisco Bay Area to 48 deaths and 1,794 confirmed cases of the illness. Only Napa and Solano counties have not had a fatality from the disease.

“We are deeply saddened to have one of our community members die due to this outbreak”, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said in a statement. “Our top priority is protecting the lives of our community members, and we are working hard to make sure these solemn occasions are as rare as possible.”

The man was employed in both Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, had not recently traveled and had not had contact with another known case, officials said.

“After a thorough investigation, Public Health’s Communicable Disease Unit determined that this infection was community acquired,” the
health division said.

Santa Cruz County confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 6 and as of Sunday morning the number of cases has grown to 41, with the vast
majority being between the ages of 18 and 65.