SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County’s first death from COVID-19 – as well as the first U.S. death – was identified as 57-year-old Patricia Dowd, a senior manager for a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm, according to the county coroner’s office.
The Los Angeles Times first reported that it was Dowd, 57, who became sick with flu-like symptoms in late January, citing family members. Dowd passed away on February 6, according to the coroner’s office.
County health officials announced Tuesday the medical examiner’s office and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing confirmed three county residents died of coronavirus infections in February and early March, the first fatalities traced to the disease in the United States. Previously, it was believed the nation’s first COVID-19 death took place in Washington state on March 9th.
A brother-in-law told the Times that Dowd, a senior manager for Fremont-based Lam Research, would travel “multiple times a year to different global locations.”
At Tuesday’s announcement, health officials had indicated none of the three early cases had a significant travel history. The two other cases were identified as a 69-year-old man and a 70-year-old man.
The Times reported Dowd’s husband works for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, previously assigned to the jail staff. The sheriff’s office says COVID-19 cases among jail staff began showing up on March 22.
Raw Video: Santa Clara County Health Officer remarks on first U.S. coronavirus cases
Lam Research provided a statement Thursday regarding Dowd’s death:
“Lam Research continues to grieve the untimely death of a well-respected employee in February. We were deeply saddened to learn today that the employee passed of complications due to COVID-19. The health and safety of our employees has always been our primary concern. From the earliest stages of the pandemic, we swiftly implemented measures to protect employees and slow the spread of the virus in regions where we operate. We are working directly with the Santa Clara Health Department to support their investigation.”