This nursing home has become the US epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, but patients' family members say they're left in the dark

Debbie de los Angeles tells CNN's John Berman about her mother's death at Life Care Nursing Home in Kirkland, Washington. The nursing home is linked to a number of deaths from novel coronavirus in the Seattle area.

Posted: Mar 9, 2020 8:00 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2020 8:00 PM

Relatives of residents at the Life Care Center are living with mounting "anger and fear and frustration" after the novel coronavirus was blamed for five deaths at the Washington state nursing home, a family member told CNN.

Pat Herrick's mother has lived at the facility in the Seattle suburbs for seven years. The center is now the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Six deaths have been tied to the Kirkland facility, King County officials said, and friends and family of its 108 patients have been barred from visiting.

More than 50 residents and staff will be tested after experiencing symptoms, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, has said. Wednesday, he told reporters that at some point all residents will be tested.

Across the country, at least 154 cases of novel coronavirus have been reported as of Wednesday.

And at least 10 deaths have been reported in Washington state alone.

At the Life Care Center, "Current residents and associates continue to be monitored closely, specifically for an elevated temperature, cough and/or shortness of breath," the nursing home said in a statement Monday.

Herrick praised the workers at the nursing home, but wonders whether they are getting the support they need. "They are flooded," she told CNN.

"This crisis right now, I think part of the concern is they don't have the resources... We're in unprecedented times."

Some family members of patients are on a private email chain to share their concerns, Herrick said. The facility also sends daily emails to the families, but the discussion among some families is why isn't the facility testing all patients.

"Why aren't they testing our families? That's the big one," she said. "And also, having been there with our families, are we at risk?"

Herrick has had a cold and a sore throat and decided against going to work Tuesday, she said.

The son of a nursing home resident tests positive

Kim Frey said she is worried about the health of her 89-year-old mother, who is immobile and lives at Life Care Center.

She says she believes her mother might be an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.

Before families were banned from visiting the nursing home over the weekend, Frey, her siblings and their father used to visit frequently.

Now Frey's brother has tested positive for coronavirus and is isolated at home. And Frey's father, who has dementia, is feeling sick.

Frey took her father to a hospital, where she believes he will be tested for coronavirus soon.

"He doesn't really know where he is or why he's there," Frey said. "He's just trying to cooperate."

As for herself, she said she thinks she already had coronavirus.

"Let's just say I'm immune," she said. "Then what? Am I OK to take a shower and re-enter the world? Everything is a decision."

Investigation at the center

An investigation into Life Care Center was launched after a resident and a health care worker tested positive for coronavirus, Duchin said. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent 20 people to help out with the investigation, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said.

"Unfortunately, we are now starting to find more cases in Washington state that appear to have been acquired locally, and we know the virus is spreading in some communities," said Dr. John Wiesman, the state's secretary of health.

It's not clear how the virus reached the center, but the first reported case of coronavirus in the United States was a man from nearby Snohomish County.

Duchin said he did not have a specific timetable for when all residents would be tested. All residents there are going through the same medical precautions whether they have a positive coronavirus test result or not, he said.

Officials at Life Care Center, which operates more than 200 facilities in 28 states, are monitoring residents and workers closely, Executive Director Ellie Basham said in a statement.

King County plans to buy a motel and put recovering patients in isolation there, the county said in a news release.

A federal disaster medical assistance team will be arriving in Kirkland on Thursday to help with staffing at Life Care Center.

Anyone who wants to be tested should be able to

Bonnie Holstad said she also wants to know why her husband isn't being tested, especially since Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that anyone who wants to be tested should be able.

But in her back and forth with the center, she told CNN, she is getting "excuses" that they can't test him until they get guidelines directly through official channels on what to do.

Sunday, Holstad was holding a sign outside the facility, asking for an update on her husband, a Parkinson's disease and dementia patient who she says has a cough. She said that no one at the facility was answering the phone.

CNN has reached out to Life Care Center about Holstad's husband but has not received a response.

Amir Medawar told CNN affiliate KIRO that even when a nurse at Evergreen hospital agreed that his mother should be transported immediately for testing, he had to argue with the staff to get his mother there.

"Here we're in ground zero, and I had to pull teeth to get her tested," Medawar said Tuesday.

His mother is still waiting for results at Evergreen Hospital, KIRO said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 768624

Reported Deaths: 13993
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1055891807
Lake569801031
Allen43032699
St. Joseph37344568
Hamilton37335426
Elkhart29783470
Tippecanoe23503230
Vanderburgh23240405
Porter19580327
Johnson18843392
Hendricks18089323
Madison13575347
Clark13552198
Vigo12869256
LaPorte12578225
Monroe12575178
Delaware11155198
Howard10693237
Kosciusko9792124
Hancock8761150
Bartholomew8274157
Warrick8084157
Floyd8043182
Grant7378181
Wayne7239201
Boone7211105
Morgan6924143
Marshall6345117
Dubois6283118
Cass6096112
Dearborn602178
Noble600890
Henry5958111
Jackson517277
Shelby511598
Lawrence4928127
Gibson463696
Montgomery459292
DeKalb456785
Clinton456055
Harrison454077
Huntington417882
Whitley416745
Steuben411260
Miami406073
Jasper401655
Knox388691
Putnam385762
Wabash370384
Adams353856
Ripley351971
Jefferson343487
White340154
Daviess3089100
Wells304081
Greene295185
Decatur292693
Fayette286564
Posey282635
Scott281058
LaGrange277772
Clay274949
Washington254637
Randolph247783
Jennings239749
Spencer238731
Fountain235850
Starke229959
Owen222959
Sullivan221643
Fulton208945
Jay203032
Carroll197722
Orange191756
Perry189939
Vermillion181144
Rush177627
Tipton173347
Franklin172535
Parke155916
Pike142534
Blackford138032
Pulaski123748
Newton123336
Benton109715
Brown106243
Crawford105816
Martin92515
Warren87915
Switzerland8378
Union73610
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1125420

Reported Deaths: 20490
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1305631493
Cuyahoga1173952263
Hamilton825481261
Montgomery536581062
Summit489381014
Lucas43799834
Butler40064614
Stark33876939
Lorain26072510
Warren24959312
Mahoning22738613
Lake21482396
Clermont20425261
Delaware19169138
Licking16879227
Trumbull16829492
Fairfield16825207
Medina15880276
Greene15565254
Clark14366308
Portage13450218
Wood13358201
Allen12064245
Richland11748213
Miami11047228
Wayne9275228
Columbiana9216236
Muskingum9144137
Pickaway8755123
Tuscarawas8724255
Marion8716140
Erie8146166
Ashtabula7280179
Hancock7050135
Ross7031165
Geauga6975153
Scioto6726108
Belmont6224179
Lawrence5964104
Union591649
Jefferson5729162
Huron5644122
Sandusky5498130
Darke5448131
Seneca5380128
Washington5373111
Athens527260
Auglaize507787
Mercer491785
Shelby484397
Knox4621113
Madison448066
Ashland446198
Defiance439499
Fulton436875
Putnam4358104
Crawford4120111
Brown410462
Preble3956107
Logan392279
Clinton391466
Ottawa376481
Highland366668
Williams357378
Champaign349860
Guernsey331554
Jackson321954
Perry299050
Morrow294943
Fayette289350
Hardin279665
Henry277467
Coshocton273061
Holmes2726102
Van Wert252365
Gallia251150
Adams250958
Pike244837
Wyandot235557
Hocking222963
Carroll201449
Paulding180142
Meigs151540
Monroe137945
Noble137939
Harrison115438
Morgan111724
Vinton87517
Unassigned04
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