SEATTLE -- King County on Sunday reported two more deaths linked to coronavirus and Grant County reported its first death, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 19.
Public Health - Seattle & King County said there were 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Life Care Center held its first media briefing Saturday, announcing that since Feb. 19, 26 residents have died. It is an acute care facility where about three to seven residents die in a typical month, it said in a written statement.
Most of the patients died at hospitals, where they were tested: 13 who died at hospitals had the new coronavirus, officials said on Saturday. But 11 died at the nursing home, and Life Care said it had no information about post-mortem tests to see whether any of them had the disease.
A team of 30 medical professionals from the U.S. Public Health Service began arriving at Life Care over the weekend to relieve exhausted — and ill — staff.
In its statement Saturday, Life Care said 70 of its 180 employees have shown COVID-19 symptoms and are no longer working. A day later, an official said three employees of Life Care have been hospitalized, and one of them is confirmed positive for coronavirus.
The facility said that it has 63 residents remaining — down from 120 before the outbreak — and that six of them have symptoms.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the various government agencies for the staffing help that arrived today,” the company said. “We now have several extra nurses, two nurse practitioners and one doctor.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine also expressed appreciation. “We are grateful the cavalry is coming,” he said Friday.
People in senior housing are considered especially susceptible because the disease caused by the new coronavirus is especially dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Meanwhile staff at two other Seattle-area senior communities dealt with their first reported cases. Two senior communities — the Ida Culver House Ravenna, a retirement home in northeast Seattle, and the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in suburban Issaquah, reported one case each.
The Ida Culver House resident has been hospitalized since Wednesday, said the retirement community’s operator, Era Living. The facility has since doubled its disinfection and cleaning practices for common areas, canceled events, asked staff who were in contact with the patient to stay home, and canceled dining room meals — instead delivering food to its approximately 90 residents.
The Issaquah nursing home resident was hospitalized on Tuesday. Three firefighters who responded there have been quarantined but haven’t shown any symptoms, Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said.
Precautions and preparations continued on a number of other fronts, with the University of Washington, Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University announcing that classes will be taught online for the rest of the winter quarter. Starbucks closed a downtown Seattle store after a worker tested positive. A number of large events, including Emerald City Comic Con, have been canceled.
King County was setting up trailers at several sites to care for quarantined patients and purchased an 84-room motel in Kent for $4 million for that purpose. Kent sued on Friday to temporarily block the county from placing patients there, saying officials had not addressed the city’s public health concerns. A Superior Court judge rejected that request with conditions, saying the county could move 15 people into the motel for now.