Washington virus deaths hit 22, 3 more from nursing home
SEATTLE (AP) — King County public health officials on Monday reported three new deaths from coronavirus and 33 new cases while Grant County in central Washington announced the first death from the disease outside the Seattle area.
The total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Washington is now at least 22. Health officials report more than 160 cases. Public Health - Seattle & King County said in a statement that two women, one in her 90s and another in her 70s, died Sunday. Another woman in her 80s died March 4 but her death was reported Monday. All three were residents of a Seattle-area nursing home that has been racked by COVID-19. Authorities say 19 of the deaths in Washington are associated with the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington.
Also Monday major Seattle businesses, including Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Alaska Airlines, said they are chipping in to help those hit hardest economically by the new coronavirus. The companies joined with the city of Seattle, King County and the Seattle Foundation to announce the creation of a new philanthropic fund.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
One of the new COVID-19 cases in the Seattle area was a first responder in Kirkland.
Thirty-one Kirkland firefighters and three police officers are in quarantine, while six have been released after completing their quarantine period without developing symptoms, officials said. Most are in isolation or quarantine at home.
First responders who developed symptoms have been tested and eight came back negative, but one recently tested positive for the disease, officials said in a release.
Health officials are trying to determine whether the first responder caught the virus due to contact with a patient or with the general public. Those who test negative must remain in quarantine for the full 14-day period, as recommended by Seattle and King County public health officials.
“We remain committed to supporting our firefighters in quarantine and isolation, as well as those on duty,” said Chief Joe Sanford. “This is a challenging time for all of our community members, including our first responders. I encourage everyone to exercise patience, kindness and understanding as we make are way through this event.”
Three firefighters involved in transporting a COVID-19 patient from a nursing center in Issaquah to a hospital are also in a self-quarantine, said Capt. Steve Johnson with Eastside Fire and Rescue.
None of those firefighters are showing symptoms, he said.
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. The facility spokesman said Sunday that it has 55 residents remaining — down from 120 before the outbreak — and that six of them have symptoms.
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