News

First American known to die from COVID-19 grew up in Mountain View

Patricia Cabello Dowd, 57, was a graduate of Saint Francis High School

The first known coronavirus death in the U.S. has been identified as a San Jose woman who grew up in Mountain View. She died on Feb. 6, long before the first previously reported death, raising questions over when local transmission of the virus began.

Santa Clara County public health officials announced Tuesday that recent autopsies revealed three people had died before the presumed first COVID-19 death at El Camino Hospital on March 9. The discoveries were made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using tissue samples from the deceased.

Though the names of those who died from the virus were not released, family members confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the first person who died on Feb. 6 was 57-year-old Patricia Dowd.

Dowd grew up in Mountain View and attended Saint Francis High School in the 1970s, graduating from San Jose State University before spending 28 years working at the Fremont-based semiconductor company Lam Research.

"She loved reading, scrapbooking, traveling, going to movies, wine tasting and most especially spending quality time with her family and friends," according to her obituary. "She will always be remembered by her beautiful smile and infectious laugh."

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Dowd was suffering from flu-like symptoms in January, according to media reports, long before community spread of the new coronavirus had been suspected in Santa Clara County. Cases previously thought to be the first in the county were people who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China, an area considered to be ground zero for the virus.

"What these deaths tell us is that we had community transmission far earlier than our systems allowed us to detect," Santa Clara County Pubic Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "The virus was likely introduced and circulating in our community earlier than we had known."

Dowd, along with an unidentified 69-year-old man with the illness who died on Feb. 17, did not travel out of the country before contracting the virus. A third death was reported on March 6, and all three individuals died in their homes.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Kevin Forestieri writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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First American known to die from COVID-19 grew up in Mountain View

Patricia Cabello Dowd, 57, was a graduate of Saint Francis High School

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 23, 2020, 2:04 pm

The first known coronavirus death in the U.S. has been identified as a San Jose woman who grew up in Mountain View. She died on Feb. 6, long before the first previously reported death, raising questions over when local transmission of the virus began.

Santa Clara County public health officials announced Tuesday that recent autopsies revealed three people had died before the presumed first COVID-19 death at El Camino Hospital on March 9. The discoveries were made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using tissue samples from the deceased.

Though the names of those who died from the virus were not released, family members confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the first person who died on Feb. 6 was 57-year-old Patricia Dowd.

Dowd grew up in Mountain View and attended Saint Francis High School in the 1970s, graduating from San Jose State University before spending 28 years working at the Fremont-based semiconductor company Lam Research.

"She loved reading, scrapbooking, traveling, going to movies, wine tasting and most especially spending quality time with her family and friends," according to her obituary. "She will always be remembered by her beautiful smile and infectious laugh."

Dowd was suffering from flu-like symptoms in January, according to media reports, long before community spread of the new coronavirus had been suspected in Santa Clara County. Cases previously thought to be the first in the county were people who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China, an area considered to be ground zero for the virus.

"What these deaths tell us is that we had community transmission far earlier than our systems allowed us to detect," Santa Clara County Pubic Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "The virus was likely introduced and circulating in our community earlier than we had known."

Dowd, along with an unidentified 69-year-old man with the illness who died on Feb. 17, did not travel out of the country before contracting the virus. A third death was reported on March 6, and all three individuals died in their homes.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Kevin Forestieri writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

Comments

Babe
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2020 at 6:09 pm
Babe, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2020 at 6:09 pm

According to some reports, this person worked for Lam Research which has branches in China. If the County is doing contact tracing, will they tell us if someone from that company was the source?


Lcro
Mountain View
on Apr 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm
Lcro, Mountain View
on Apr 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm

The Asian branches of LAM are both in S. Korea....NOT China. Huge difference.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2020 at 11:09 pm
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2020 at 11:09 pm

@Lcro - Lam Research has 15 offices in China, including one in Wuhan. Two manufacturing sites in Korea.


A Possible Connection
Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2020 at 9:51 am
A Possible Connection, Crescent Park
on Apr 24, 2020 at 9:51 am
Penny
Professorville
on Apr 24, 2020 at 11:40 am
Penny, Professorville
on Apr 24, 2020 at 11:40 am

Condolences to her family


PA Resident
Monroe Park
on Apr 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm
PA Resident, Monroe Park
on Apr 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm

As others have mentioned, it's a tragedy to lose a member of our broader community, and we send our condolences to Ms. Dowd's family.

Related to the potential tech connection, there are articles starting to circulate that some of the early cases of Covid-19 might have stemmed from the CES convention in January. Mashable says there were at least 100 participants from Wuhan at that show.


Lots of companies
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 24, 2020 at 5:37 pm
Lots of companies, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 24, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Lots of Silicon Valley companies have offices, customers, manufacturing facilities in China. Lots of people of many ethnicities are used to flying back and forth to China on a fairly routine basis. This specifically includes Wuhan. We’re talking many people and many years. Very routine.


Anything
Crescent Park
on Apr 25, 2020 at 8:57 am
Anything, Crescent Park
on Apr 25, 2020 at 8:57 am
JR
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2020 at 4:19 pm
JR, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2020 at 4:19 pm

The organizers of events in late Jan and early Feb who cancelled their events as a precaution, clearly saved lives. I know they took a lot of criticism for the cancellations (like the cancellation of the Chinese New Years event in Palo Alto). In hindsight, we should all be grateful for their courage in canceling the events. The Corona Virus was amount us already.


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2020 at 1:51 am
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2020 at 1:51 am

RE: Lots of companies
I know that all of the speakers from China who were scheduled to participate in our annual meeting in early February, had cancelled in January because they said they were not able to leave. Some presented virtually. They would have flown into Seattle-Tacoma. Personally, I did not attend because I was aware and afraid of this virus, but the organizers in Washington, DC did not think it was something to be concerned about. I tried to convince them to cancel the conference 1-1/2 weeks before it was scheduled. No luck.


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