Washington state nursing home sees nearly 50 employees test positive for coronavirus

Nearly 50 employees of Life Care Center of Kirkland, the Seattle-area nursing home that has been an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., have tested positive for the virus, according to a report.

The results from Public Health – Seattle & King County, the health agency that serves the nation’s 15th largest metropolitan area, were reported in a Twitter post by a reporter from Seattle’s KIRO-TV.

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The figures showed 47 employees tested positive, 24 tested negative, one test was inconclusive and five test results were still pending. In addition, 18 more employees were to be tested Saturday.

Overall, 95 employees showed coronavirus symptoms, the agency added, according to KIRO.

The 47 positive tests of employees, coupled with 63 positive tests for the home's patients, means the nursing home accounts for about one-third of the state's 328 confirmed cases of coronavirus, KIRO reported.

In addition, at least 25 of the 37 coronavirus deaths in the state -- by far the highest fatality figure in the nation -- have been linked to the nursing home, the station reported.

Earlier Friday, the county health agency had reported 58 new cases of the virus, also called COVID-19, bringing the King County total to 328. As of Friday, the state had 568 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Seattle Times.

Last week, state officials confirmed that 15 of the nursing home’s 69 residents had been transported to hospitals -- though it was unclear exactly what prompted the hospitalizations.

On March 9, Q13 FOX of Seattle reported that 35 residents of the nursing home had been tested for coronavirus. The results: 31 positive results, one negative and three inconclusive.

On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people in the Seattle area – including concerts and sporting events.

He made the ban statewide on Friday, the Times reported.

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Also on Friday, Inslee said he would mandate school closures in the state from March 17 through at least April 24, according to the Times.

The outbreak has taken a heavy toll on the economy in the Seattle area. Uber and Lyft drivers have seen their earnings drop sharply and some 50 restaurants have closed in recent weeks, the Times reported.