The deaths of three more residents of a Kirkland nursing home were linked to the coronavirus disease on Tuesday, bringing the number of deaths to nine in Washington state, according to health officials.
Now seven residents of the home, Life Care Center of Kirkland, have died, and their deaths are attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus known officially as SARS-CoV-2.
Two of the residents who were confirmed to have COVID-19 on Tuesday died nearly a week before, on Feb. 26, and mark the nation’s earliest known fatalities from the illness.
A 54-year-old resident died at Harborview Medical Center on Feb. 26, hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said. The man was taken to Harborview on Feb. 24, and had underlying health conditions. Doctors and public health officials typically don’t disclose what health conditions a patient had, due to privacy laws.
The death of another Life Care Center resident was announced Tuesday, and she also had died on Feb. 26. The woman was in her 80s, was never hospitalized and died at home, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.
The third death announced Tuesday was a woman in her 70s who was also a resident of Life Care Center and had been hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. She had underlying health conditions and died on Monday, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Harborview doesn’t believe any other patients were exposed to the virus but is working with Public Health – Seattle & King County to determine whether some health care workers in the intensive care unit were exposed while treating the male patient, Gregg said. Anyone who may have been exposed at Harborview will be monitored and screened daily, she said.
The illnesses linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland have prompted a wave of questions from family members with relatives inside Life Care and scrutiny over how prepared the facility and others are for an outbreak. About 50 people from the nursing home’s more than 100 residents and 180 staff are being monitored, public health officials said over the weekend.
All nine deaths in the United States have been in Washington state. There are now 27 confirmed cases in Washington state, concentrated in King and Snohomish counties.
In all, seven new cases were confirmed Tuesday in King County. Two more cases in Snohomish County were also confirmed Tuesday, according to the Snohomish Health District. Public health workers are monitoring 231 people who could have been exposed to the virus.
This is a developing story and will update.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of deaths linked to Life Care Center.