13 deaths at Seattle-area care facility connected to coronavirus

13 deaths at Seattle-area care facility connected to coronavirus

A total of 13 deaths at a Seattle-area long-term care facility have been connected to coronavirus, and more could be confirmed in the coming days, a spokesman said Saturday.

Life Care Center of Kirkland, ground zero for the West Coast’s coronavirus outbreak, has reported 26 deaths since Feb. 19, when a resident first tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, said spokesman Tim Killian.

So far, 13 of Life Care’s deceased have tested positive, and tests for two other deceased residents have been inconclusive, he said. All had been hospitalized.

Test results for the other 11 who died were pending, Killian said. Because the center cares for the elderly and infirm, it usually experiences three to seven deaths a month, he said, so the virus may not be to blame for all 26 deaths.

A day after President Donald Trump said “anybody who wants a test gets a test,” Life Care Center does not have enough test kits for the remaining 63 residents, Killian said.

“We have more coming,” he said.

A total of 54 patients have been transferred to hospitals since Feb. 19, he said, and six residents with symptoms were quarantined in their rooms Saturday. He said hospitals have rejected requests to take the six until they become more acute.

“There are no other locations that are willing to take them at this point,” Killian said.

Of the center’s 180 workers, 70 are “now showing symptoms” and were confined to their homes, he said.

It was unclear whether any visitors had been exposed to the virus, he said.

COVID-19’s rapid attack on older patients with underlying health conditions was palpable at the Kirkland center, Killian said.

“We have seen some results that have frankly concerned us with how quickly” they decline, he said, noting the change occurs over a matter of hours.

Some patients went from having no symptoms to hospitalization and even death within a day, he said.

“More help and more resources will continue to be needed,” he said.

The number of coronavirus deaths nationwide was 19 as of Saturday afternoon.

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