The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Tukwila is closed Tuesday due to concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, after an employee who’d visited Life Care Center in Kirkland got sick, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli tweeted Tuesday morning that the department learned late Monday that an employee at the office “started exhibiting flu-like symptoms four days after visiting the nursing home in Kirkland, Washington that has seen numerous COVID-19 cases.”
He wrote that the employee had been coming to work between the possible exposure on Feb. 22 and becoming ill on Feb. 26.
“In an effort to contain the threat of potential spread & out of an abundance of caution, the Seattle Field Office was ordered closed,” Cuccinelli tweeted.
Of the 18 total COVID-19 cases to emerge in Washington state, nine have been linked to the Kirkland nursing home, officials said. Some 50 people were being monitored for signs of the illness, officials said over the weekend.
The immigration office employee did not come to work after the onset of illness, DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf said in a statement explaining that the office was being closed for 14 days out of an “abundance of caution.”
Employees have been asked to self-quarantine and work remotely if possible “in order to reduce the threat of community spread of coronavirus.”