A nursing home and a retirement community in the Seattle area announced on Friday cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, which is particularly dangerous for older patients.

Ida Culver House Ravenna, a retirement community in Northeast Seattle, and Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility, each said a single resident had been hospitalized and that access to their campuses was restricted as a precaution.

At Issaquah, the resident was taken to a hospital on Tuesday and remains hospitalized as of Friday afternoon. No other cases have been reported there.

Three Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters who responded there have been quarantined “out of abundance of caution” and aren’t showing any symptoms, Deputy Chief Rich Burke said.

The Ida Culver House resident has been in the hospital since Wednesday and will remain quarantined off-site for at least two weeks, according to an email sent to residents.

Management from Era Living, which runs the Ida Culver House, said they believe the case is isolated and that they don’t have any more information about where the resident might have been exposed.

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The new cases add to concern about the impact of coronavirus at regional nursing and assisted living communities. The nursing home Life Care Center of Kirland has been hit hardest of any facility in the country, with 34 cases among residents, staff or visitors, and 10 deaths.

“Following the news of the first death related to COVID-19 in our area, we moved swiftly to add additional measures on top of existing plans and infection control protocols related to preventing the spread of communicable disease,” said the email to Ida Culver residents.

This week, Era Living, which owns Ida Culver House, began checking in with residents twice a day for symptoms, increased cleaning, and canceled events and activities. The facility asked residents to stay in their apartments as much as possible, gave them the option to have meals delivered at no extra charge to their doors and started restricting “non-essential” visitors.

The Ravenna senior living community, with both senior and assisted living services, has about 90 residents in 87 apartments, said spokeswoman Nicole Francois.

Seven students from Seattle’s Assumption-St. Bridget parishschool visited Ida Culver House this week, but did not have close contact with the ill resident, and public health officials did not recommend closing the school, according to an email from the school to students’ families. 

In Issaquah, a sign taped to the front door says no visitors allowed and that the facility does not “have any confirmed COVID-19 currently in our building.” The facility has about 100 residents, and staff members are working to contact residents’ family members, administrator Lisa Stubenrauch said outside the building Friday afternoon.

Maria Johnson, environmental services director at Aljoya Mercer Island retirement community, disinfects the dining room.  After about 10 minutes, the tables and chairs are all wiped down. This procedure used to be done only once a day in this room and other communal areas, but now is being stepped up to twice a day.  (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Seattle-area nursing homes scramble to keep vulnerable residents safe amid coronavirus outbreak

Era Living told residents in an update that new Public Health — Seattle & King County recommendations instructed those at higher risk of severe illness, including those age 60 and older, to stay home and away from large groups of people.

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The retirement community also asked residents who planned to visit a hospital or long-term care facility discuss their visit with their community heath team first.

We are vigilantly working with public health officials, residents, and staff to prevent an outbreak in our retirement community and beyond,” Albert Munanga, Era Living regional director of health and wellness, said in a statement. “Our hearts are with our sick resident and that resident’s family.”

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