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Coronavirus deaths linked to Washington state nursing home could be even higher

Virus Outbreak US
Posted at 10:00 PM, Mar 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 22:00:33-05

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The number of deaths linked to coronavirus in Washington state could be even higher than the 16 already announced based on figures released by the nursing home at the center of the region's outbreak.

The Life Care Center of Kirkland said Saturday that since Feb. 19, 26 of its residents have died. Typically, about three to seven residents die at the facility each month.

Of the 26 who died, 15 did so at hospitals where they were tested for COVID-19. But 11 died at the nursing home, and Life Care said it has no information about post-mortem tests to see if those 11 had the coronavirus.

The facility also said that 70 of its 180 employees have symptoms and are no longer working.

Nursing home showed few signs it prepared for virus outbreak

Before the suburban Seattle nursing home became ground zero for coronavirus deaths in the U.S., there were few signs the facility was girding against an illness spreading around the world.

Several people who visited Life Care Center over the past few weeks told The Associated Press that they didn’t notice any unusual precautions and weren't asked about their health.

Visitors came in as they always did and staffers only recently began wearing masks.

And events went on as planned, including a Mardi Gras party three days before officials announced the first of at least 10 deaths linked to the facility.