UPDATE: At Least 6 People In Puget Sound Region Have Died From COVID-19 Coronavirus
BY KARI PLOG / KNKX & NWPB STAFF
UPDATE, March 2, 11:45 a.m. PT:
At least six people have died in Washington from the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. King County health officials announced the updated number today in a press briefing. It includes five people in King County and one person in nearby Snohomish County.
King County executive Dow Constantine said the county will purchase a motel to house patients and will set up separate modular-like units for the same purpose.
County health officer Jeff Duchin said public health officials are taking the growing number of cases “extremely seriously.”
“We expect the number of cases to increase in the coming days and weeks,” Duchin said.
UPDATE, March 1, 2020, 6:40 p.m. PT:
King County health officials announced four new cases of coronavirus late Sunday, including a second death, bringing the total number of cases countywide to 10. All of them are associated with Life Care, a nursing home in Kirkland that is associated with two previously announced cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19.
Results from the state lab came back positive, and the cases remain presumptive until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can confirm.
The second fatality, a man in his 70s, happened Saturday at EvergreenHealth. All of the other patients remain in critical condition at that Kirkland hospital: a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s, and a man in his 70s. All of them have underlying health conditions.
The four latest cases were announced hours after two other cases became public — both men in their 60s with underlying health conditions who are hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton and Virginia Mason Medical Center. As of Saturday afternoon, those men also were listed in critical condition.
Officials with the King County Executive’s Office will join local and state health officials Monday to discuss the latest cases and the county’s response to the outbreak, according to a statement released Sunday night.
A patient in King County who tested positive for coronavirus has died, according to state and local public health officials. It’s believed to be the first coronavirus death in the U.S. The news prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency.
State and local health officials have confirmed two other presumed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, both tied to a long-term care facility where more than 50 residents and employees are experiencing respiratory symptoms.
As of Saturday, that brings the total of presumed patients in King County to four. There is an additional case in Snohomish County.
The cases are being classified as “presumptive” until testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta confirms the results.
The patient who died, a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions, came to EvergreenHealth Hospital with serious respiratory issues before testing positive for the virus, according to a statement from the Kirkland hospital.
The other two patients announced Saturday are believed to have contracted coronavirus at Life Care Center, a long-term care facility in Kirkland. An employee at the facility, a woman in her 40s, is in satisfactory condition at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue. A resident at the facility, a woman in her 70s, is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth.
Additionally, dozens of residents at Life Care are experiencing respiratory symptoms, and more positive cases are expected. Of the 108 residents and 180 staff members at the nursing facility, 27 residents and 25 staff members are reportedly experiencing some sort of respiratory symptoms.
Local health officials are actively working to test and treat to contain spreading of the virus; the CDC was scheduled to fly in Saturday night to assist.
During a news conference Saturday afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine said the county’s emergency management department is helping coordinate a regional response to contain the virus, activating the county’s emergency operations center. He and other health officials stressed the need for people to exercise good hygiene practices.
“We need to emphasize personal health preparedness,” Constantine told reporters. He also noted that King County Metro would continue to be diligent in keeping buses sanitized.