A March 18 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found staff members of the Life Care Center of Kirkland assisted in the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Samantha Pak/staff photo

A March 18 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found staff members of the Life Care Center of Kirkland assisted in the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Samantha Pak/staff photo

CDC: Life Care staff worked in multiple facilities and while symptomatic for COVID-19

Staff members assisted in spreading coronavirus throughout long-term care facilities.

On March 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report stating staff members of the Life Care Center of Kirkland assisted in the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Introduction of COVID-19 into a long-term residential care facility in Washington resulted in cases among 81 residents, 34 staff members, and 14 visitors; 23 persons died. Limitations in effective infection control and prevention and staff members working in multiple facilities contributed to intra-and interfacility spread,” the report reads.

On Feb. 27, a local health care provider notified Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) of a patient whose symptoms met the testing criteria for the coronavirus (COVID-19). By the following day, a 73-year-old Life Care resident tested positive for COVID-19. The patient died on March 2.

Back in mid-February, a cluster of respiratory illnesses broke out at the facility, which hosted about 130 residents who had about 170 health care personnel. Some residents underwent rapid influenza tests, which all came back negative.

PHSKC and the CDC began to investigate the respiratory illnesses at Life Care. They collected information, which included symptoms and their severity, travel history and underlying health conditions.

By March 9, the total number of coronavirus cases in King County was 111 (86 percent of coronavirus cases in Washington). Life Care residents made up 81 cases, staff members made up 17 cases and visitors made up 13 cases. In addition, as of this date, eight assisted living facilities (excluding Life Care) reported one or more cases of COVID-19.

The median age of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 was 81. For staff members, the median age was 42.5 and 62.5 for visitors. In addition, 65.1 percent of coronavirus patients were female. More than half (56.8 percent) of residents who tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized.

In terms of chronic underlying health conditions of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 throughout King and Snohomish counties, 69.1 percent had hypertension, 56.8 percent had cardiac disease, 43.2 percent had renal disease, 37 percent had diabetes, 33.3 percent had obesity and 32.1 percent had pulmonary disease.

In part of a response effort to the COVID-19 outbreak, about 100 long-term care facilities throughout King County were contacted via email surveys. These surveys requested information regarding residents and staff known to have coronavirus, or clusters of respiratory illnesses in attempts to identify possible coronavirus cases. Facilities with evidence of clusters of respiratory illnesses were contacted by telephone for further information as well as infection control strategies and personal protective equipment (PPE) supply.

Long-term care facilities were prioritized by coronavirus risk, introduction and spread. Highest-priority facilities were visited by response personnel for emergency onsite testing, infection control assessments, support and training.

According to the CDC report, the information obtained from the email survey and onsite visits assisted in determining factors that contributed to the spread of COVID-19. These factors include: staff members working while symptomatic, staff members working at more than one facility, inadequate adherence to contact precautions, inadequate supplies and delayed recognition of cases due to limited testing and difficulty identifying cases based off of symptoms alone.

Local and state authorities plan to implement measures for long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include active screening of health care personnel, symptom screening and restriction policies for visitors, symptom monitoring of residents, social distancing, staff training on infection control and PPE use, and plans to address local PPE shortages.

“The underlying health conditions and advanced age of many long-term care facility residents and the shared location of patients in one facility places these persons at risk for severe morbidity and death,” the report states.

The Reporter reached out to Eastside long-term care facilities Life Care Center of Kirkland and Madison House Independent & Assisted Living Community in Kirkland, and Aegis Living Marymoor in Redmond for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Shiah Lints was a visitor of the Aegis Living Marymoor. His mother is a former resident before he pulled her out of the facility for the two of them to quarantine themselves in Eastern Washington after a staff member at Aegis tested positive for COVID-19 on March 6.

Lints described how he has medical power of attorney over his mother, meaning, he makes all of her medical decisions.

“I had asked my mom to be in full isolation,” after the virus struck stateside, he said.

On numerous occasions, the staff had not followed his wishes and he found his mother preparing to eat in the dining hall among other residents.

“I’ve talked to them repeatedly over the course of that week saying they need to take this seriously. They said they deal with the flu every year,” he said. “I would remind them that this wasn’t the flu.”

Lints said there were Purell hand sanitizer by the front door to the facility and handwashing stations, although he did not believe the facility was being proactive in terms of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I feel like they put people’s lives at risk,” said Lints.

He voiced his concerns on several occasions.

“They won’t communicate with me. They communicate with my brother. And I’m acting as her full-time caregiver in Eastern Washington,” said Lints.

Lint’s brother receives email blasts from Aegis Marymoor, which he then forwards to Lint. According to Lint, 13 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 (one of which has died), and three staff members have tested positive.

Lints believes the staff should undergo routine COVID-19 testing every three days, and he acknowledges that the staff is underpaid and overworked.

In terms of offering advice for those who have a family member living at a long-term care facility:

“Pull them out of that assisted facility and isolate them and yourself in the home. If you can isolate and take care of your loved one, do that,” Lints said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Human remains identified as Federal Way woman, Kent man

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

Photo from the scene of a drive-by shooting at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. Photo by David Nelson.
Drive-by shooting at Coulon Park Tuesday interrupted memorial

Two were shot, one with life threatening injuries. Renton Police Department is investigating.

Sound Transit gets $100 million federal grant for Federal Way light rail extension

Portion of $790 million payment toward $3.1 billion project

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

A photo of the victim in a shooting at Cedar River, 24-year-old Nicholas Germer. Courtesy Photo/GoFundMe
Kent man killed in shooting at Cedar River, suspect arrested

34-year-old suspect is being held on bail for $1 million

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Renton collection agency sued over collection letters for unenforceable debts

Convergent Outsourcing sent over 75,000 deceptive letters asking for settlements on debts that were already past the statute of limitations for collection lawsuits

Most Read