Washington state found itself at the center of the US coronavirus outbreak with health officials on Monday confirming 18 cases, including six deaths, many of them linked to a nursing home in the Seattle area.
A 70-year-old man and woman, who had underlying health problems and were living center residents in nursing homes in the Washington state of Kirkland, died Sunday. A woman in her 80s, who was in critical condition, also died, along with a man in his 50s and a man in his 70s, who had underlying health problems. It was not immediately clear if they were Life Care residents. A man in his 40s, who had underlying conditions, also died. It had no connection to the center.
The facility has been under close surveillance after a resident and a staff member tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The Life Care Center announced that it would not allow visits from families, volunteers or vendors and was suspending admissions.
Ellie Basham, executive director, said in a statement Monday that the facility was monitoring all residents and staff for high temperature, cough or shortness of breath. Residents with these symptoms will be isolated.
Most coronavirus infections cause mild symptoms, but for some at higher risk, including the elderly and people with chronic diseases, it can cause more severe symptoms. Authorities believe the virus spreads mainly through coughing or sneezing.
All coronavirus deaths have occurred at the EvergreenHealth hospital in Kirkland. The hospital has had 10 confirmed cases of the virus and they are waiting for the results of another 29 people, according to Dr. Ettore Palazzo, hospital’s medical and quality director.
“We expect the number of cases to continue to increase in the coming days and weeks, and we are taking this situation extremely seriously,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King counties, during a press conference on Monday. “The risk of everyone getting infected will increase, and although most cases will be mild or moderate, the infection can cause serious illness and there is the potential for many people to get sick at the same time.”
He predicted that the state would likely see more cases of coronavirus than influenza in the coming weeks and months.
Researchers who analyzed the genomes of infections believe that a case of coronavirus announced on Friday probably descended from the first case in the state, according to the New York Times. That means that the virus may have been transferred from person to person without being detected for weeks.
Seventeen officials from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have come to the state to help with infection control, epidemiology, contact tracking and planning for the next few weeks, Duchin explained.
King County, which includes Seattle, has the majority of these cases, and on Sunday the county executive, Dow Constantine, signed an emergency declaration, allowing officials to take measures such as authorizing overtime for employees fighting the virus.
The county is also in final negotiations to buy a hotel for patients who need a place to recover and live temporarily in isolation, which is expected to be available to patients at the end of the week. They will also establish modular homes throughout King County to provide dozens more people, especially homeless people, with a place to stay and recover.
Dr. Kathy Lofy, a state health officer at the Washington State Department of Health, announced Monday that the state’s public health laboratory could now analyze approximately 200 specimens a day and could meet all requests. An additional laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle will begin analyzing the virus on Monday or Tuesday.
The first death by coronavirus in the USA. UU. It was confirmed in the state of Washington on Saturday.