The woman, whose identity hasn't been released, was the first person in the county confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus who didn't have a known history of international travel or contact with a person who had traveled or was infected. That suggests she contracted the disease in the community, the department said.
The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office declined to provide information about the person who died, saying it did not have jurisdiction over the case, and referred media inquiries to the public health department. The public health department said it was not releasing information such as the woman's name, age or city of residence out of concern for her family's privacy.
The department offered condolences to the woman's family and friends in a statement issued just after noon on March 9.
"This is a tragic development. The Public 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. Sara Cody, the county's top health officer. "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 county continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and other partners as the situation continues to change.
Visit sccphd.org/coronavirus for the latest updates and guidance on how to slow the spread of the virus.
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