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March 27, 2020

Monterey County announces first coronavirus death

MONTEREY COUNTY—Monterey County health officials on Saturday announced the first death of a county resident that had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Officials said the victim was an “adult individual” who had an “underlying health condition” that made them more susceptible to the highly-contagious virus that has sickened thousands worldwide.

They released no other information on the victim in an effort to “protect the family’s privacy at this very difficulty(sic) time.”

“This is a tragic development. The Monterey County Health Department is taking necessary, carefully considered steps to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect those at greatest risk,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health officer and director of public health. “We are facing a historic public health challenge and know this is a very difficult time. Our top priority continues to be protecting the health of our community.”

The news came hours after this publication reported a man diagnosed with the virus had died at Watsonville Community Hospital Friday night.

Halsen Healthcare CEO Dan Brothman confirmed the death on Saturday morning.

Brothman, whose company owns WCH, did not release any information about that victim.

Two sources, however, said that man was not a Santa Cruz County resident. They were speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.

Monterey County officials also announced the county now had 11 confirmed cases, at least two of which appear to have been acquired locally.

Neighboring Santa Cruz County as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday had 15 confirmed cases.

Editor’s note: Reporter Todd Guild contributed to this report.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.