The Life Care Center of Kirkland has become a focal point of concern for the novel coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19.) Although not the location of the man who died of the coronavirus, this nursing and rehab facility has been the site of at least two confirmed cases, with more under close watch. Here’s what you need to know about the Life Care Center of Kirkland.
1. There Are Five Cases from Life Care Center, One Death, & at Least 50 People Have Respiratory Illnesses
Life Care Center is a nursing and rehab facility in King County. Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were associated with the facility on February 29, KIRO 7 reported. These cases are technically “presumptive positive” because they tested positive from a Washington state lab, but CDC labs need to confirm the test, KING 5 explained.
One of the cases is a health care worker in her 40s. She’s at Overlake Hospital and doing well. She had no history of travel outside the U.S., so where she caught the virus is not known.
Another case is a resident of the facility who is in her 70s, KIRO 7 reported. She’s in serious condition.
Then on March 1, four new people tested positive, including one person who died, Q13 Fox reported. The man who died was in his 70s with underlying health conditions. He was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth.
Three other cases were hospitalized at EverGreenHealth in Kirkland. These were confirmed on March 2 and include a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s, and a man in his 70s. All have underlying conditions and all are in critical condition.
On top of the confirmed cases, at least 50 staff and residents are displaying symptoms, KIRO 7 reported. Some have respiratory symptoms and others have been hospitalized with pneumonia. Many are being tested and the facility expects to have more positive tests come in soon.
Anyone with symptoms or who may have been exposed is quarantined. This includes several firefighters who helped patients at the facility, KING 5 reported. The firefighters are from Fire Station 21 and had “multiple” exposures. The building is under quarantine and the firefighters are quarantined either at home or another location.
2. Family Members Are Not Allowed To Visit
In a statement, executive director Ellie Basham told KIRO 7 that families, volunteers, and vendors are not currently being allowed inside the facility. Family members can call 425-823-2323 with questions.
Ted Land of K5 reported that family members were being given an information sheet about COVID-19 when they tried to visit their family members who are at the facility. You can see a photo of the information sheet in the tweet above. It appears to be an official information sheet from the CDC.
In a statement on its website, the center wrote: “Current residents and associates are being monitored closely. As is normal this time of year, there are various cold and flu-like symptoms being exhibited from residents and associates. The health department has advised us to monitor for an elevated temperature, cough and shortness of breath. We’re consulting with the health department and possibly sending patients to a local hospital for formal COVID-19 testing. That testing is not performed in our facility. As precaution, all visits to the facility from families, volunteers or vendors are not allowed. Concerned family members or responsible parties may call our facility. The facility is currently placing a hold on admissions as well to fully focus on our current residents and associates.”
3. Sixteen Students Visited the Facility Last Week
Sixteen students from Lake Washington Institute of Technology visited Life Care Center last week, KING 5 reported. The campus is being disinfected this weekend. The college president, Dr. Amy Morrison, said: “Currently, the college is awaiting guidance from King County Public Health in order to provide information and guidance to our faculty and students.”
4. The Man Who Died on February 29 Is Not from the Life Care Center, But a Man Who Died on March 1 Connected to the Center
The man who died — the first death in the continental United States from COVID-19 — was from King County but he was not from the Life Care Center, KING 5 reported.
A man who passed away on March 1, however, is connected to the center, Q13 Fox reported.
5. The Center Is a Short-Term Rehabilitation Facility
The center is a short-term rehabilitation facility with 190 beds, according to U.S. News. It’s not a continuing care retirement community. It’s a for-profit center that participates in Medicare and Medicaid.
According to its website, the center provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care. The description reads: “There are a variety of conditions that require skilled nursing care, from wound care to diabetes management. Our nursing team has experience with a wide variety of diagnoses. Whether you are planning elective surgery, or looking for care for yourself or a loved one, contact us today to see how our team can fulfill your needs during your stay.”
The nursing staff gives 24-hour care, including short- and long-term care, post-surgical care, infection management, fall prevention, wound care, and more. They also offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
According to the website, each Life Care Center offers unique amenities that may include a beauty salon and barbershop on site, call lights, wireless Internet, fine dining, flat-screen TVs, landscaped courtyards, housekeeping and laundry, private rooms, religious services, private bathrooms, and more.
The Life Care Center is well-rated online. It has 3.4 out of 5 stars with 18 Google reviews, 3.5 out of 5 stars on Caring.com, and four stars on U.S. News & World Report.
One Google review is from a CNA who worked there. She wrote: “I worked as a CNA here. From experience from working in a couple of places, I was happy with the management’s care to us workers for the facility; supplies are almost always sufficient, supervisors listen to ideas very close. I can see people happy working in this environment. Since that, residents are taken care well and happy, too. Activities are diversified: singers/music bands are invited to come almost every day in the week…”
Another woman, whose mom was a patient there for two months in late 2018, wrote: “My mom needed to recover in the Life Care facility in Kirkland… The people there were wonderful, the place was bright and very clean and the care givers were genuine and caring people. … If there was a situation again where she needed rehab, I would not hesitate to go here.”