Seattle-area nursing home linked to 19 coronavirus deaths and hundreds of infections has no kits to test 65 employees showing symptoms

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
By Paul Martin

Life Care Center, in Kirkland, Washington, is linked the majority of cases in the state as well as 19 deaths
One-third of staff members, about 65, are showing symptoms, but the center says it has no kits to test them
The University of Washington School of Medicine said it could test all Life Care staff, but the federal government has not given kits for the center’s employees
In the US, nearly 800 people have tested positive and 28 people have died

By MARY KEKATOS SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER
DAILYMAIL.COM
10 March 2020

The Seattle-area nursing home at the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak says it has no kits to test 65 employees who are showing symptoms of the virus.

The staffers, representing more than one-third of workers at Life Care Center – in Kirkland, Washington – and are currently out sick.

In the meantime, a federal strike team of nurses and doctors is helping care for the 53 patients whom remain in the center.

With the nursing home accounting for over half of all coronavirus deaths in the US, as well all its patients tested, it’s unclear why it had not been given kits for staff even as the University of Washington offered to process tests.

We would like more kits to test employees,’ Life Care Center spokesman Tim Killian told reporters, adding he did not know why they had not been forthcoming.

‘We’ve been asking the various government agencies that have been supplying us with test kits.’

At a press conference on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said that one million test kits had been distributed and that four million were expected to go about by the end of this week or the next.

However, he did not specify where the kits were sent to, or would be sent to.

Since February 19, 26 of the nursing home’s 120 patients have died, with 13 of 15 autopsies carried out so far showing that coronavirus was the cause.

Twenty-one of Life Care’s residents, including those now in hospitals, have tested positive for the virus.

The outbreak has shown how quickly the new virus spreads among elderly residents with weak immune systems and underlying health conditions living in close quarters.

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