COVID-19 cases continue to climb at Kirkland nursing facility: ‘I am concerned she is going to feel alone’

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KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to be a nursing facility in Kirkland.

LifeCare Center is on the national radar as confirmed COVID-19 cases go up.

“The biggest concern is how many people will be affected,” Kim Frey said.

Frey came to the facility from eastern Washington on Sunday knowing visitors are not allowed with residents under quarantine.

She brought a note that reads, “We love you. We can’t come in.”

She was hoping to hold it up to the window outside so her 89-year-old mother could see it.

The note also reminding her mom to stay hydrated.

“I am concerned she is going to feel alone and that’s going to contribute to her downfall really,” Frey said.

Despite the outbreak, Frey desperately needed her mom to see her.

“They told me I wasn’t going to get in,” Frey said.

But they eventually let her in with protective gear on.

“My mom was good. She was really excited to see me, I didn’t hear any coughing. It was really quiet,” Frey said.

Frey’s mom is not showing any signs of respiratory issues related to coronavirus. But Public Health- Seattle & King County announced 4 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday all linked to LifeCare. One of those four cases, a man in his 70s died, on Saturday bringing the total deaths in Washington state to two.

“That’s concerning,” Frey said.

There are also three people confirmed with COVID-19 in critical condition, a woman in her 90s, another woman in her 80s and a man in his 70s. All have underlying health conditions.

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has some choosing to self-quarantine.

“A little panicked, I am a nurse myself,” Annisa Walsh said.

Walsh says she visited her mother-in-law at the facility a day before news of the coronavirus cases spread.

“My sister-in-law did get a call yesterday saying her mother didn’t have a fever and was doing ok,” Walsh said.

That’s the best case scenario on a day the media witnessed staff workers wheeling out a patient with the help of first responders.

It’s unclear if the emergency is linked to coronavirus.

But one first responder before leaving the scene said it was some type of respiratory issue.

On Saturday Public Health-Seattle &King County said that more than 50 people at LifeCare have shown signs of respiratory issues since mid-February. Sunday, LifeCare said they only saw 7 residents that day with respiratory issues.

All of those people will be tested for COVID-19. Confirmed cases are expected to climb.

It is unclear if CDC officials visited LifeCare on Sunday but King County health officials say a team of CDC workers have arrived in Washington state and are working with them to contain the outbreak.

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