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

Kirkland, Washington (CNN)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…

Kirkland, Washington (CNN)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. Five 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, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County.
Across the country, at least 149 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 said she feels she has been left in the dark.
Some family members of patients are on a private email chain to share their concerns, Herrick said. And though she gets daily emails from the facility, she says she doesn’t understand why they aren’t testing all of the patients for the coronavirus.
“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 on Tuesday, she said.

The son of a nursing home resident tests positive

Kim Frey 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 mom 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 dad 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 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.

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