Two more coronavirus deaths in King County as 10 nursing homes report positive tests

SEATTLE -- Two more King County nursing home residents have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 22 and the statewide number to 24 as of Tuesday afternoon (March 10).

According to King County Public Health, there are now 190 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the county and 267 statewide, according to the state Department of Health.

Officials said Snohomish County has 54 cases, including one death, and Pierce County has 16 cases with no deaths. There was case in each of these counties: Clark, Grant, Jefferson, Kittitas, and Skagit. Kitsap County has two cases.

The two new deaths are:

    Of the 22 deaths reported in King County, 19 are associated with Life Care Center of Kirkland, where at least 55 people have tested positive for the virus.

    Forty-nine residents remain at the Life Care Center — 21 of them with positive coronavirus tests, and 16 with pending or inconclusive tests, Killian said Tuesday.

    Nearly three dozen others are in hospitals, including four who were transferred since Monday.

    Including all residents, those who are hospitalized and those who remain at Life Care, there are 55 positive -- 34 in hospitals, 21 at the nursing home.

    Update regarding long-term care facilities in King County

    Public Health is working with 10 long-term care facilities where residents and/or employees have tested positive for the virus.

    The following facilities have reported residents and/or employees who tested positive for the virus:

      Tim Killian, a spokesman for Life Care, said that about 30 employees had been tested by Tuesday, and that he believed arrangements were being made to test all 180 workers.

      Some 64 of the facility’s employees are showing symptoms and not working, he said, and two have returned to work after receiving medical clearance.

      Who should get tested?

      Not everybody who feels ill needs to be tested, particularly if you have mild illness. Healthcare providers determine who should be tested, based on specific symptoms. While testing is becoming more available, there are still limitations in the ability to quickly collect and process tests.

      If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and are in a high risk group, call your healthcare provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

      For now, if you have mild symptoms (cough, fever), you need to stay home and stay away from people.

      Statewide response

      Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced new rules for nursing homes and assisted living facilities in response to the growing number of cases.

      Workers can receive unemployment benefits and employers can get relief of benefit charges if they need to cut operations or shut down because a worker is sick with the disease.

      If a worker is infected or must quit due to COVID-19, they may qualify for the Paid Family Medical Leave.

      “Through careful planning and by working together, we can mitigate the economic hardships this situation is going to cause,” Inslee said.