Fears for 50 at nursing facility amid first US coronavirus death as Trump says not to panic – Daily Mail


Fears for 50 staff and residents at nursing facility after they are confirmed with coronavirus symptoms – two miles from Washington hospital where man, 50, becomes the first to die from the virus in the US and Donald Trump urges public not to panic

  • 25 staff and 27 residents of the the Life Care nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington state, are showing symptoms of coronavirus, health officials said Friday 
  • Two new confirmed cases in Washington are connected to the long-term care home – with one female staff member in her 40s and one female resident in her 70s both testing positive 
  • The CDC and local health officials are sending an emergency response team to the facility to try to control the escalating situation 
  • A ‘medically high-risk’ male in their 50s died of coronavirus overnight Friday in a Kirkland hospital, just two miles from the care home 
  • Officials said the deceased patient is not connected to Life Care home 
  • There was initial confusion over the patient’s sex, after Trump said they were a woman 
  • None of the three new cases had a history of recent travel and are being treated as ‘community spread’ cases 
  • Trump urged calm, saying ‘healthy individuals should be able to fully recover’ if infected
  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency authorizing the use of the National Guard
  • Community spread with no traceable origin has now been identified in California, Washington, Oregon 

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Fears are mounting for 50 staff and residents at a nursing facility in Washington state after they have shown coronavirus symptoms, on the same day that the US had its first confirmed coronavirus death and Donald Trump continued to urge the public not to panic.

Fifty-two staff and residents of the nursing facility where two new coronavirus cases have been confirmed are now showing symptoms of the disease, health officials said during a teleconference with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the Life Care nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington state, around 27 of the 108 residents and 25 of the 180 staff have some symptoms, including some cases where individuals have contracted pneumonia.

The CDC and local health officials are reportedly sending an emergency response team to the Life Care facility on Sunday to try to control the escalating situation. 

This comes as a ‘medically high-risk’ man in his 50s became the first person in the US to die from coronavirus overnight Friday in the same city, near Seattle, Washington state. 

Healthcare workers are pictured transporting a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at Life Care Center of Kirkland in Kirkland, Washington on Saturday

Healthcare workers are pictured transporting a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at Life Care Center of Kirkland in Kirkland, Washington on Saturday

More than 50 staff and residents of the Life Care nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, where two new coronavirus cases have been confirmed are now also showing symptoms of the disease

The first US coronavirus death happened overnight on Friday. The man in his 50s died in EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kirkland (pictured Saturday)

The first US coronavirus death happened overnight on Friday. The man in his 50s died in EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kirkland (pictured Saturday)

Officials confirmed the death at a press conference Saturday and said a lack of availability of tests and strict criteria for testing from the CDC had delayed identification of people with the virus

Officials confirmed the death at a press conference Saturday and said a lack of availability of tests and strict criteria for testing from the CDC had delayed identification of people with the virus

At a White House press conference, President Donald Trump mistakenly said that the first patient to die from coronavirus in the US was a Washington state woman in her 50s who was 'medically high-risk'. The patient was a man

At a White House press conference, President Donald Trump mistakenly said that the first patient to die from coronavirus in the US was a Washington state woman in her 50s who was ‘medically high-risk’. The patient was a man

The unnamed man died in a hospital just two miles from the nursing facility where concerns of a mass outbreak are mounting, but officials are maintaining the cases are unconnected.  

President Trump sought to quell widespread panic in a press conference on Saturday where he expressed condolences to the family of the patient who died and told people to remain calm – before he made a gaffe by wrongly saying the person was a woman.  

The possible outbreak in the nursing facility comes as it emerged that two new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state are linked to the home. 

At a Saturday press conference, Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Seattle and King County, confirmed that one of the confirmed cases was a woman in her 40s who works at the facility, who is in satisfactory condition. 

Another was a female resident of Life Care in her 70s, who is in serious condition. 

Healthcare workers transport a patient into an ambulance at Life Care Center on Saturday. The CDC and local health officials are reportedly sending an emergency response team to the Life Care facility on Sunday to try to control the escalating situation

Healthcare workers transport a patient into an ambulance at Life Care Center on Saturday. The CDC and local health officials are reportedly sending an emergency response team to the Life Care facility on Sunday to try to control the escalating situation

'We are very concerned about an outbreak in a setting where there are many older people, as we would be wherever people who are susceptible might be gathering,' health officials said

‘We are very concerned about an outbreak in a setting where there are many older people, as we would be wherever people who are susceptible might be gathering,’ health officials said

An ambulance driver prepares to leave after transporting a patient into an ambulance. A team of CDC workers from Atlanta are on route to the facility in efforts to control the outbreak

An ambulance driver prepares to leave after transporting a patient into an ambulance. A team of CDC workers from Atlanta are on route to the facility in efforts to control the outbreak

The Life Care facility provides 24-hour care for residents, including physician and nurse coverage, many of whom have long-term and chronic conditions. News of the potential outbreak in the facility is concerning given the higher danger of coronavirus being fatal to individuals who are less healthy or already have pre-existing conditions

The Life Care facility provides 24-hour care for residents, including physician and nurse coverage, many of whom have long-term and chronic conditions. News of the potential outbreak in the facility is concerning given the higher danger of coronavirus being fatal to individuals who are less healthy or already have pre-existing conditions

A spokesperson for Life Care told DailyMail.com that the facility was not accepting any visitors or new admissions, and was monitoring all residents and associates for the virus. A patient was seen being moved from the center to an ambulance on Saturday (pictured)

A spokesperson for Life Care told DailyMail.com that the facility was not accepting any visitors or new admissions, and was monitoring all residents and associates for the virus. A patient was seen being moved from the center to an ambulance on Saturday (pictured)

Neither had a recent history of travel, suggesting these are additional cases of community spread.  

‘We are very concerned about an outbreak in a setting where there are many older people, as we would be wherever people who are susceptible might be gathering,’ said Duchin. 

‘We’re going to send a team into the facility tomorrow to do an assessment.’ 

A team of CDC workers from Atlanta are on route to the facility in efforts to control the outbreak. 

Duchin added that older adults and people with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart or lung disease should be especially careful to protect themselves by washing their hands, not touching their faces, and avoiding contact with people who are sick.  

The Life Care facility provides 24-hour care for residents, including physician and nurse coverage, many of whom have long-term and chronic conditions.

News of the potential outbreak in the facility is concerning given the higher danger of coronavirus being fatal to individuals who are less healthy or already have pre-existing conditions. 

A spokesperson for Life Care told DailyMail.com that the facility was not accepting any visitors or new admissions, and was monitoring all residents and associates for the virus.

The first person to die of coronavirus in the US died in EvergreenHealth hospital just two miles from the Life Care nursing facility where concerns of a mass outbreak are mounting, but officials are maintaining the cases are unconnected

The first person to die of coronavirus in the US died in EvergreenHealth hospital just two miles from the Life Care nursing facility where concerns of a mass outbreak are mounting, but officials are maintaining the cases are unconnected

They said the restricted access had only been put in place earlier that morning, the same day the two cases were confirmed and outbreak fears emerged. 

Medical staff wearing protective clothing and masks were pictured transporting a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care facility on Saturday. 

The CDC is working with the facility to try to get a handle on the situation, they said, but the individual said they could not confirm reports that the CDC was sending in an emergency response team to the home.

Executive director Ellie Basham said in a statement that the facility is monitoring the situation closely.

‘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 statement emailed to DailyMail.com read.

‘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.’

Several Kirkland firefighters have also been quarantined after they responded to Life Care facility over the last week, according to Seattle Times

‘It impacted multiple crews,’ Kellie Stickney, a city of Kirkland spokesperson, said.

The city has not stated where the firefighters are being quarantined.  

Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Seattle and King County, said the deceased man had no recent history of travel or known links to global coronavirus hotspots

Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Seattle and King County, said the deceased man had no recent history of travel or known links to global coronavirus hotspots

Harborview Medical Center's home assessment team, including (L to R) Michelle Steik, Lucy Greenfield, and Krista Reitberg prepare to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Harborview Medical Center’s home assessment team, including (L to R) Michelle Steik, Lucy Greenfield, and Krista Reitberg prepare to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Washington state recorded the first death from coronavirus in the US on Saturday. 

Duchin said the deceased patient was a man in his 50s with ‘underlying health conditions.’  

He died overnight at the Evergreen Health’s hospital in Kirkland, Washington – just two miles from the Life Care facility in Kirkland where the mass outbreak is now feared.  

The deceased patient, also in King County, did not have a connection to the facility, Duchin said. 

However, Frank Riedo, the medical director of infection control at EvergreenHealth Hospital, did not seem to rule out the possibility the cases are related. 

‘At the present time, we do not see a connection between the two. But there are some evolving threads that are being investigated,’ said Riedo.

‘I think … what we’re seeing is the tip of the iceberg. We’re seeing the most critically ill individuals. Usually that means there’s a significant percentage of individuals with less severe illness floating around out there. So in all likelihood there is ongoing low level transmission.’

Duchin also took aim at the CDC, saying that the lack of available tests had led to delays in the cases being confirmed and action being taken. 

‘If we had the ability to test earlier, I’m sure we would have identified patients earlier,’ he said.

Health officials said all three new cases in Washington state had no known travel history or links to global hot zones — indicating that the deadly outbreak is now likely spreading in communities. 

This now takes the number of Washington cases to a total of six, according to presumptive tests administered locally. The national total in the US is at least 62. 

Speaking to the nation at a rare Saturday press conference, Trump expressed condolences to the family of the patient who died and addressed the outbreak, urging calm even as he said the virus spread seems inevitable. 

‘Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,’ he said. ‘Healthy people — if you’re healthy, you’ll probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.’

Trump urged politicians and the media not to sensationalize the outbreak and provoke panic. ‘There’s no reason to panic at all,’ he said.

Initially, there was confusion over the deceased patient’s sex, after Trump said that the person was a woman in her 50s who was ‘medically high-risk’. The White House said that Trump was relying on information from a briefing from the CDC.

‘It was a man,’ said Dr. Duchin of the deceased patient, adding that the patient was a ‘chronically ill person’ with ‘severe risk factors.’

Worldwide, the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China has sickened at least 83,652 people and killed 2,862 in 54 countries.

Trump spoke a day after he denounced criticism of his response to the threat as a ‘hoax’ cooked up by his political enemies.

‘Hoax was referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,’ Trump explained on Saturday when asked if he regretted his words. ‘I’m not talking about what’s happening here, I’m talking about what they’re doing.’

The EvergreenHealth hospital (above) in Kirkland. The three new cases takes the number of Washington cases to a total of six, according to presumptive tests administered locally

The EvergreenHealth hospital (above) in Kirkland. The three new cases takes the number of Washington cases to a total of six, according to presumptive tests administered locally

At Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a home assessment team hold protective and testing supplies, while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to coronavirus on Saturday

At Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a home assessment team hold protective and testing supplies, while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to coronavirus on Saturday

At the press conference, Vice President Pence, who has been tapped to lead to virus task force, announced new emergency travel restrictions on Iran, Italy, and South Korea, which have been hit by outbreaks.

Any foreign national who has visited Iran in the past 14 days will be banned from entering the U.S., Pence said.

He also said that Trump has authorized the State Department to raise the travel advisory level to outbreak areas in Italy and South Korea to Level Four, the highest level.

Level Four advisories urge Americans not to travel to an area for any reason, though they do not legally forbid travel. 

Health experts say that the coronavirus has a low mortality rate, resulting in death in about 2 to 3 percent of cases, the majority of which are elderly patients or those with compromised immune systems. However, it appears to be highly contagious, spreading quickly through communities. Experts say frequent hand washing is one of the most effective preventative steps that individuals can take to prevent viral spread. 

On Saturday afternoon, Washington's Governor Inslee, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in response to coronavirus, authorizing the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary, following the confirmation of the new cses near Seattle (above)

On Saturday afternoon, Washington’s Governor Inslee, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in response to coronavirus, authorizing the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary, following the confirmation of the new cses near Seattle (above) 

On Saturday afternoon, Washington’s Governor Inslee, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in response to coronavirus, authorizing the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary.

He issued a proclamation that directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.

‘This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state,’ Inslee said in a statement. ‘Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic.’ 

Untraceable ‘community spread’ cases detected in three Western states 

The fatal case follows the revelation on Friday that three new cases of community spread with no identifiable origin had been detected in California, Oregon, and Washington State. 

Those patients – an older Northern California woman with chronic health conditions, a high school student in Everett, Washington and an employee at a Portland, Oregon-area school – hadn’t recently traveled overseas or had any known close contact with a traveler or an infected person, authorities said.

A map shows the four previously announced 'unknown origin' coronavirus cases

A map shows the four previously announced ‘unknown origin’ coronavirus cases

Earlier US cases include three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak; 14 people who returned from China, or their spouses; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who were flown to U.S. military bases in California and Texas for quarantining.

Convinced that the number of cases will grow but determined to keep them from exploding, health agencies were ramping up efforts to identify patients.

The California Department of Public Health said Friday that the state will receive enough kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to test up to 1,200 people a day for the COVID-19 virus – a day after Governor Gavin Newsom complained to federal health officials that the state had already exhausted its initial 200 test kits.

California reported two cases where the source of infection wasn’t known. The older woman was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, and rapid local testing confirmed in one day that she had the virus, health officials said Friday.

‘This case represents some degree of community spread, some degree of circulation,’ said Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County and director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

‘But we don’t know to what extent,’ Cody said. ‘It could be a little, it could be a lot.’

‘We need to begin taking important additional measures to at least slow it down as much as possible,’ she said.

Cody said the newly confirmed case in Santa Clara County is not linked to two previous cases in that county, nor to others in the state.

The Santa Clara County resident was treated at a local hospital and is not known to have traveled to Solano County, where another California woman was identified Wednesday as having contracted the virus from an unknown source.

Dozens of people had close contact with the Solano County woman. They were urged to quarantine themselves at home, while a few who showed symptoms of illness were in isolation, officials said.

At UC Davis Medical Center at least 124 registered nurses and other health care workers were sent home for ‘self-quarantine’ after the Solano County woman with the virus was admitted, National Nurses United, a nationwide union representing RNs, said Friday.

The case ‘highlights the vulnerability of the nation’s hospitals to this virus,’ the union said.

Harborview Medical Center's home assessment team carry protective and testing supplies while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington on Saturday

Harborview Medical Center’s home assessment team carry protective and testing supplies while preparing to visit the home of a person potentially exposed to novel coronavirus at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington on Saturday

Oregon also confirmed its first coronavirus case Friday – and another ‘unknown origin’ case – in a person who works at an elementary school in the Portland area, which will be temporarily closed.

The Lake Oswego School District sent a robocall to parents saying that Forest Hills Elementary will be closed until Wednesday so it can be deep-cleaned by maintenance workers.

Washington state health officials then announced two new coronavirus cases Friday night, including a high school student who attends Jackson High School in Everett, said Dr. Chris Spitters of the Snohomish County Health District.

The student had no known contact with a confirmed case and had not recently returned from overseas.  

The other case in Washington was a woman in in King County in her 50s who had recently traveled to South Korea, authorities said. 

Both patients weren’t seriously ill. 

The number of coronavirus cases in the US is considered small. Worldwide, the number of people sickened by the virus hovered Friday around 83,000, and there were more than 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.

But health officials aren’t taking any chances. Some communities, including San Francisco, already have declared local emergencies in case they need to obtain government funding.

In Southern California’s Orange County, the city of Costa Mesa went to court to prevent state and federal health officials from transferring dozens of people exposed to the virus aboard a cruise ship in Japan to a state-owned facility in the city. The passengers, including some who tested positive for the virus and underwent hospital care, had been staying at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California.

On Friday, state officials said the federal decided it no longer had a crucial need to move those people to the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa. That’s because of the imminent end of the isolation period for those passengers and the relatively small number of persons who ended up testing positive, officials said.

The new coronavirus cases of unknown origin marks an escalation of the worldwide outbreak in the U.S. because it means the virus could spread beyond the reach of preventative measures like quarantines, though state health officials said that was inevitable and that the risk of widespread transmission remains low.

California public health officials on Friday said more than 9,380 people are self-monitoring after arriving on commercial flights from China through Los Angeles and San Francisco. That’s up from the 8,400 that Newsom cited on Thursday, though officials said the number increases daily as more flights arrive.

A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on Friday in New Jersey

A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on Friday in New Jersey

Officials are not too worried, for now, about casual contact, because federal officials think the coronavirus is spread only through ‘close contact, being within six feet of somebody for what they´re calling a prolonged period of time,’ said Dr. James Watt, interim state epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

As infectious disease experts fanned out in the Solano County city of Vacaville, some residents in the city between San Francisco and Sacramento stocked up on supplies amid fears things could get worse despite official reassurances, while others took the news in stride.

The woman in the community who has coronavirus first sought treatment at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, before her condition worsened and she was transferred to the medical center in Sacramento.

Sacramento County´s top health official told The Sacramento Bee on Friday that he expects several medical workers to test positive themselves in the next few days. Numerous workers at both hospitals have been tested, but the tests were sent to labs approved by the CDC and generally take three to four days to complete.

Peter Beilenson, Sacramento County’s health services director, said he expects even those who test positive to become only mildly ill.

Confusion over how quickly the woman was tested for coronavirus concerned McKinsey Paz, who works at a private security firm in Vacaville. The company has already stockpiled 450 face masks and is scrambling for more ‘since they´re hard to come by.’ The company’s owner bought enough cleaning and disinfectant supplies to both scrub down the office and send home with employees.

But they appeared to be at the extreme for preparations.

Eugenia Kendall was wearing a face mask, but in fear of anything including the common cold. Her immune system is impaired because she is undergoing chemotherapy, and she has long been taking such precautions.

‘We´re not paranoid. We´re just trying to be practical,’ said her husband of 31 years, Ivan Kendall. ‘We wipe the shopping carts if they have them, and when I get back in the car I wipe my hands – and just hope for the best.’  

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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