Four new cases of the new COVID-19 disease in Washington State are linked to the outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, officials said.
Three patients in their 70s or older are at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, outside of Seattle, and a fourth died over the weekend, Seattle & King County Public Health announced.
A woman in her 90s, a woman in her 80s, and a man in his 70s all have underlying health conditions and are in critical condition. The man who died was in his 70s and also had underlying health conditions.
All four patients were residents of LifeCare, the skilled nursing facility about 13 miles outside of Seattle, officials said. A female staff member in her 40s previously tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, officials said on Saturday, in addition to a longterm resident at the facility who was in serious condition at Evergreen Hospital.
Officials received reports of approximately 27 residents and 25 staff members with symptoms of respiratory illness. There are 108 residents and 180 staff members at the facility.
Ellie Basham, executive director of the Life Care Center of Kirkland, said in a statement that any residents showing symptoms were placed in isolation and all workers were screened before starting work shifts. If the workers showed symptoms, they were sent home.
Staff members were following infection control recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including frequently washing hands and wearing masks, gowns, and gloves when caring for patients showing symptoms.
No family members, volunteers, or vendors were being allowed into the facility and all admissions were placed on hold, Basham said.
Kim Frey, whose 89-year-old mother lives in the facility, said that she traveled there to hold up a note saying “We love you. We can’t come in” to the window so her mother could see.
Staff members eventually let Frey in with protective gear on.
“My mom was good. She was really excited to see me, I didn’t hear any coughing. It was really quiet,” Frey told Q13.
Three groups who had contact with residents at the facility are now in quarantine or being monitored outside of the center.
Twenty-five firefighters from Fire Station 21 in Kirkland were under a precautionary quarantine in addition to two police officers who responded to the center, King 5 reported. A spokeswoman for the city said the firefighters were either staying isolated at home or at an undisclosed location.
Sixteen students from the Lake Washington Institute of Technology who visited the Life Care Center last week were self-monitoring for signs of the virus, Dr. Amy Morrison, president of the college, said in a statement.
She and the school’s executive cabinet decided to close the campus on March 2 and March 3 to continue disinfecting and cleaning the campus. They’re also canceling all large community and college events for the week.