Seattle nursing home at center of coronavirus outbreak lacks enough testing kits for staff

Seattle nursing home at center of coronavirus outbreak lacks enough testing kits for staff
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The Seattle-area nursing home at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state said Monday that it does not have enough kits to test 65 employees who are showing symptoms of the disease.

More than a third of the employees at Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., are out sick with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, which has killed at least 13 patients at the center. A federal strike team is helping to care for the 53 patients who are still at the center, 31 of whom have tested positive for the virus, Reuters reported

Life Care Center has reported more than half of the known cases in the U.S., and Reuters noted it is unclear why the nursing home lacked the kits for staff. The University of Washington has offered to process the tests for the center. 

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“We would like more kits to test employees,” Life Care Center spokesman Tim Killian told reporters Monday. “We’ve been asking the various government agencies that have been supplying us with test kits.”

Twenty-six of 120 patients in the nursing home have died from the virus, with 13 out of 15 autopsies confirming it as the cause of death, officials said, according to Reuters. Out of the patients who remain, 31 of 35 tested have contracted the coronavirus. 

The Seattle-King County Public Health agency reported three more deaths of Life Care residents on Monday, but it was unclear if these deaths were included in the center’s statistics. The county has reported 116 cases and 20 deaths due to the virus.

Washington state has reported 162 confirmed cases, the most in any state, with 22 deaths. Across the U.S., more than 600 people have been affected by the coronavirus.