Sick staff fueled outbreak in Seattle-area care centers

Posted at 2:59 PM, Mar 18, 2020

Federal officials say staff members who worked while sick at multiple long-term care facilities contributed to the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly in the Seattle area.

At least 30 deaths have been linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

A report Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the most detailed account to date of the outbreak investigation and its findings.

Nursing homes in the area are vulnerable because staff have been working with symptoms, working in more than one facility, and sometimes haven’t followed recommendations about controlling infection.

The report reads in part:

"COVID-19 can spread rapidly in long-term residential care facilities, and persons with chronic underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for COVID-19–associated severe disease and death. Long-term care facilities should take proactive steps to protect the health of residents and preserve the health care workforce by identifying and excluding potentially infected staff members and visitors, ensuring early recognition of potentially infected patients, and implementing appropriate infection control measures."

To read the full report, click here.