A nursing home in Washington state has been so ravaged by COVID-19, the disease that derives from the novel coronavirus, that at least 70 employees are showing symptoms and have been asked to stay home from work until further notice, ABC News reports.
So bedeviled by the virus is Life Care Center in Kirkland that it’s effectively been deemed the “epicenter” of the virus in the United States.
The first COVID-19 case was reported at the facility on February 19. Since that time, 26 residents have died, with about half being attributed to the virus. Those deaths account for the lion’s share of coronavirus deaths in Washington, where 16 people have died.
What’s more, those 16 coronavirus deaths in Washington account for the overwhelming majority of all coronavirus deaths in the United States, where 19 people have died from the disease, as of this writing.
Now, it’s not just the residents who are dealing with the virus but the staffers: 70 people who work at the facility are showing respiratory symptoms and have been asked to stay home until further notice.
That’s not to say that all 70 employees are sick with COVID-19. Further, it’s possible that coronavirus has infected employees and/or residents at the facility who are showing no symptoms at all.
Tim Killian, a spokesperson for Life Care Center, called the employees “heroes,” and was clear that he’s far from prepared to say that the facility has gotten the upper hand on the disease.
“We cannot make any promises that further exposure in the center is not happening,” he said.
BREAKING: King Co. Public Health confirms four new cases of #coronavirus, including one death. All of those cases are residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland, a nursing home where it is feared the virus is spreading. pic.twitter.com/rtFgGAFiUG
— Ted Land (@TedLandK5) March 2, 2020
Meanwhile, families of residents at the facility, where 60 residents are still living, say that the information they are getting from the center is only trickling in and is often unreliable.
For example, Pat Herrick says that she called the facility to talk to her mother and was told that she had gone to bed. Hours later, she got a phone call telling her that her mother had been rushed to an emergency room and had died.
Hours after that, Herrick got another call, this time from an unidentified “Life Care representative based in Tennessee,” who told her that her mother was fine.
“That’s bullsh*t. My mom died at 3:30 this morning,” she claims she told the representative.
Herrick also said that in the days before her death, her mother had been confined to a room with two roommates who were showing respiratory symptoms.
The facility has received 45 test kits to test for the virus, and has ordered an unspecified number of additional kits.