Officials announce possible coronavirus outbreak in Washington nursing facility

Officials on Saturday announced a possible outbreak of coronavirus at a nursing facility in Washington State, a serious situation given the risks the virus poses to elderly people.

The possible outbreak is at a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Wash., called Life Care Center, officials from Washington state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on a media call Saturday. 
 
There are two presumptive positives associated with the facility, one a health care worker and the other a woman in her 70s. 
 
Adding to the concern, officials said approximately 27 of 108 residents and 25 of 180 staff have some symptoms and are being tested. 
 
Jeff Duchin, a Washington state health official, said they are "very concerned about an outbreak in this setting, where there are many older people."
 
Officials said the risk to the general public remains low. About 80 percent of people who get the virus are not thought to require hospitalization, but the risk is highest for those with underlying health conditions and the elderly. 
 
Duchin said a lack of availability of tests and strict criteria for testing from the CDC had delayed identification of people with the virus. 
 
"If we had the ability to test earlier, I'm sure we would have identified patients earlier," he said. 
 
The news of the potential nursing facility outbreak comes after officials in Washington state announced the first death in the United States from the coronavirus.