Family members of patients at Kirkland nursing facility demand answers, center stops admitting patients

KING COUNTY, Wash. — LifeCare Center in Kirkland is the focal point in King County’s fight against the coronavirus after at least 16 deaths were linked to the facility.

The center announced Wednesday that it will stop admitting new residents.

“...the facility has also placed a hold on admissions, to fully focus on our current residents and associates. We encourage family members to call the facility if they have specific questions regarding their loved ones,” Executive Director Ellie Basham said in a statement.

On Tuesday, family members of patients at Life Care Center of Kirkland demanded answers. They fear their loved ones are not being properly protected. One man insisted his mother be transported to Evergreen Hospital on Sunday after she had symptoms. Amir Medawar says he told Life Care Center of Kirkland he was concerned about his 86 year-old mother, Odette.

Medawar says he had to argue with staff at the skilled nursing facility and ended up calling a nurse at Evergreen Hospital for guidance. He says she agreed his mother should be transported immediately. Even then Medawar says he got push back from staff.

“Here we’re in ground zero and I had to pull teeth to get her tested,” said Medawar Tuesday. His mom was tested Monday and is still waiting for results at Evergreen Hospital.

Jody Connolly’s dad, Jerry Wall, is at the care center. He doesn’t appear to have symptoms but Connolly says his roommate has been coughing for days and is not wearing a mask.

She wants all of the patients tested immediately.

“We want them all to be tested. We want everybody in that facility to be tested and not wait until they’re so sick they’re headed to the hospital,” said Connolly.

The family members told KIRO-7 they are not getting the answers they need from the care center, the Centers for Disease Control, or the Health Department. They want family members to be updated daily. They say the care center is short-staffed and question the level of care.

Many of them visited the care center in the last few weeks and they worry they were exposed to the virus.

On Tuesday, the first case of Coronavirus in North Carolina was someone who has visited Life Care Center of Kirkland, according to health officials.

North Carolina’s first case of coronavirus is linked to the nursing home - the patient tested positive after visiting LifeCare, health officials said.