Massachusetts has its first death related to the novel coronavirus, a man in his 80s from Winthrop, state and local officials said Friday.
The man was in the hospital "and had pre-existing health conditions that put him at higher risk for COVID-19," the disease caused by the virus, the Department of Public Health announced Friday.
He was an 87-year-old veteran who lived in Winthrop, town officials said.
"The fact is that this terrible virus has taken a life in our community, and that loss of life gives each of us pause and fills us with sorrow," town officials said in a statement.
The man hasn't been identified, in keeping with patient privacy law, but Gov. Charlie Baker offered sympathy to the man's friends and family.
"I know that these are uncertain and unsettling times for everyone and I know that we are asking a great deal of the people of Massachusetts," Baker said at a news conference Friday, adding that the restrictions he's put in place will help the state pull through the outbreak together.
Massachusetts has been one of the hardest-hit states in the nation, reporting 413 cases of coronavirus cases on Wednesday. The virus is quickly spreading across the country after devastating parts of China, Italy, Iran and elsewhere.
New England's first coronavirus-related death came Wednesday when an 88-year-old man in Connecticut died. More than 200 people have died nationwide.
Federal, state and local officials have declared states of emergency as leaders call on the public to use social distancing -- self-imposed physical isolation -- to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading so quickly that the disease it causes, COVID-19, overwhelms hospitals and kills thousands.
On Thursday, Baker took more action to help the state contend with the social and economic impact of social distancing, activating up to 2,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.
He and many other officials have said they expect more cases to be reported in the coming days and weeks. He said Wednesday that his top priority is in getting personal protective equipment like masks to medical staff in Massachusetts.