Life Care awaiting employee coronavirus test results, according to public liaison

Another briefing in front of the facility will be held on March 12.

The Life Care Center of Kirkland provided a new coronavirus (COVID-19) update in front of the facility at 1 p.m. on March 11.

This is part of a daily series of briefings headed by public information liaison Tim Killian. At the end of the gathering, Killian said that for the March 12 briefing, he is working to bring out nurses working at the center to give first-person testimonials.

Killian said that since Feb. 19, the number of Life Care residents transferred to nearby hospitals is 65. He said that the number of deaths have not changed, but that “[they] don’t have complete confidence in those numbers relative to those residents who have left and gone to hospitals,” because the center does not receive up-to-the-minute reporting from families and hospitals.

Killian said that to the center’s knowledge, a total of 26 deaths affiliated with the facility have occurred since Feb. 19.

He said there are currently 47 residents living at Life Care, and that there is no change in the number of people who are symptomatic as of the briefing.

All residents inside the Life Care facility have been tested for a coronavirus infection. He said that as of Wednesday, there are 26 positive residents on site. There are 12 negative and four inconclusive results. Five tests are outstanding.

As of March 11, 67 Life Care employees are showing symptoms. (On Feb. 19, Life Care had 180 employees.)

All employees are in the process of testing. Results, however, have not yet been processed. To Killian’s understanding, most testing is affiliated with the University of Washington.

Killian said that there is no policy in place regarding whether residents can leave the facility.

“This is a care facility, not a jail,” he said. “It’s not a prison. Families and patients have the right to leave if they choose to do so.”

He noted, though, that the likelihood of patients leaving the site is low due to the specialty nature of the care at Life Care. Killian said that, to his understanding, two families have chosen to remove their loved ones from the facility since coronavirus infections within the facility had been confirmed.

Killian said that Life Care is still in the process of moving residents who have tested negative for the virus to a different wing of the facility.

Killian said that to his understanding, it was commonplace, before confirmation of the virus at the Kirkland facility, for employees of other regional Life Care facilities to move between the Kirkland location and others. But since the outbreak, Killian said that if an employee has come from a different place to work in Kirkland, they have remained there. He could not confirm at the briefing whether nurses had worked at other nursing homes in the area, or what the protocol was.

Killian characterized employee morale as nearing “an exhaustion point” due to protracted hours, and that the facility is “going to need more and more help” from outside agencies.

The state of residential mental health was brought up at the gathering, and Killian said that there is not currently a team of mental health professionals at the facility to monitor patients.

The next briefing is set for at 1 p.m. on March 12 in front of the Life Care Center of Kirkland. These briefings will happen daily as long as Life Care sees fit, Killian said.