Life Care employees tested for coronavirus; facility to be cleaned

KIRKLAND, Wash. — At Life Care Center of Kirkland, the number of patients killed by the coronavirus continues to grow. Of the 40 deaths in Washington, 27 are now linked to the nursing home, according to Public Health Seattle and King County, and Overlake Hospital.

Su Wilson found out her mom, June Liu, 93, tested positive for the coronavirus. On Monday, Wilson was able to see her mom through the window. She says she could tell her mom was depressed. “So the nurse aide bring my mom out, she looks so sad, not excited like, ‘Oh, I see you,’” said Wilson.

Before she found out her mom tested positive, Wilson had hoped to bring her mom home until the outbreak was over. Wilson says her mom only speaks Chinese and even when she explained on the phone, her mom didn’t seem to understand why she needed to be quarantined. Wilson says she told her mom, “Right now, stay in your room and drink soup and get better.”

Wilson expressed frustration that patients and staff had not been tested earlier. “They probably can prevent a lot of suffering or death,” she said.

Eighty-five-year-old Twilla Morin died last Wednesday.

Morin’s daughter came to Life Care Center of Kirkland to try to get some answers. Her mom was tested for the coronavirus after she died, and the results are still pending.

“If it was COVID-19, that’s what I want the death certificate to say. It means a lot to find out,” said Debbie Delosangeles, of Monroe. While her mom had some other health issues, she said, “I never expected it to be like this.”

Delosangeles said she got a call from the care center about the outbreak Saturday, Feb. 29. By Tuesday night, her mom had a fever of 104, and she died Wednesday morning.

Tim Killian, the spokesperson for Life Care Center of Kirkland, announced Tuesday afternoon about 30 staff members had been tested for the virus off-site with the help of the Washington State Department of Health.

He estimated of the 180 employees who worked at the nursing home before the outbreak, about 64 were showing symptoms. He says employees with symptoms are staying home. According to Killian, they are working to have all employees tested.

On March 13, Public Health - Seattle & King County told KIRO 7 that all residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland had been tested for the coronavirus and that testing was being offered to the facilities’ symptomatic employees in partnership with the University of Washington. The testing is being offered off-site so no new risk of infection is presented at the facility.

According to county health officials, 47 Life Care employees tested positive, 24 tested negative, one was inconclusive, five were still pending and 18 were pending specimen collection for Saturday. The total number of health care workers who are symptomatic is 95.

A professional cleaning crew was hired to clean the Kirkland nursing home, which has been the center of the outbreak. A semitruck dropped off a container full of supplies late Tuesday.

Life Care Center said to expect workers from Serv Pro to be dressed in hazmat suits when they enter the building. The cleaning is expected to start Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Of the patients still at Life Care Center of Kirkland, 21 tested positive, 12 were negative, and results are pending on about 12 more patients. Other tests were inconclusive, according to Killian.

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