Image by Images via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann

The director of a hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak began, has died after contracting the disease.

Chinese state media confirmed the death of neurosurgeon Liu Zhiming, who was the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital. That makes him the latest of at least six health workers killed by the pneumonia-like virus, Time reports.

In the Chinese cities hit hardest by the ongoing outbreak, hospitals are rapidly becoming overwhelmed — overworked medical staff are struggling to treat the tens of thousands who have fallen ill, and often get sick themselves.

So far, China's National Health Commission has reported over 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among health workers who were infected while trying to treat others.

On Friday, the Chinese government sent over 25,000 medical workers, including prominent doctors from around the country, to Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei Province, Time reports. As of now, the Hubei Province has just shy of 60,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while the rest of the world combined only has about 12,000.

Ideally, that influx of doctors will help hospitals in the area get back on top of the outbreak and prevent further transmission among the staff there.