COVID vaccinations begin at Life Care Center, the epicenter of the outbreak

VIDEO: COVID-19 vaccinations begin at Life Care Center in Kirkland

Nearly 10 months to the day after the deadly COVID outbreak was identified at Life Care Center of Kirkland, vaccinations began.

One of the first up was Alice Cortez , the nursing manager. She was given the Pfizer vaccine by staff from CVS Pharmacy.

“That feels good,” said Cortez after she was vaccinated.

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Chelsey Earnest, is the director of nursing at another nursing home owned by the same company as Life Care. When so many nursing got sick at Life Care she volunteered to go there and help. On Monday she was vaccinated too.

The first vaccinations happened in the same walkway where dozens and dozens of sick patients were transported to local hospitals.

The long term care center was the epicenter of the COVID outbreak in the U.S. While the workers knew there was respiratory illness, they didn’t know it was coronavirus until Feb. 29.

Two patients, who had been transported to Evergreen Medical Center, tested positive.

Even once the virus was identified, it the spread continued inside the nursing home as they struggled to isolate patients.

It took days to finally test patients and employees, as the care center pleaded for help from the federal government.

Forty-six people associated with Life Car, died.

In King County nearly 60% of the COVID deaths are from long term care centers. That is why the need to vaccinate residents is so high on the list, right alongside at frontline health care workers.

Monday’s vaccinations at Life Care are part of the CDC program with CVS and Walgreens.

In a place where there was so much loss, so much pain, there is now hope.