Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, outside of Seattle, has seen 15 of its residents die after contracting COVID-19, and dozens of its workers have fallen ill. The center’s remaining 55 residents are going to be tested for the virus, and while only six of them are currently sick, that doesn’t necessarily mean good news, The New York Times reports. As the Times put it, Life Care “had seen some residents go from no symptoms to death in just a matter of a few hours.”
“It was surprising and shocking to us that we have seen that level of escalation from symptoms to death,” said Tim Killian, a spokesperson for the nursing home. Efforts to contain the spread from Life Care aren’t going well either, seeing as 70 of the center’s 180 workers were out sick as of Sunday, but “there weren’t enough test kits yet for them,” the Times reports. Three of those workers had been hospitalized, and one of them tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s important to note Washington state has reported just three deaths from the new coronavirus that weren’t tied to the nursing home. Life Care is home to people who are elderly or recovering from illnesses, so those who died likely had weaker immune systems and were more susceptible to COVID-19. “Kids and adults have done extremely well in terms of recovery so far,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, notes to ABC News. Washington has second highest number of both COVID-19 deaths and cases among all U.S. states, while New York has 142 cases and zero deaths. –Yahoo News
NY prison inmate to dig mass graves: If New York City has a plague year, there’s a plan for its prisoners—not to protect them from infection in their tight quarters, but to use convicts to make New York State branded hand sanitizers and, if it comes to that, prisoners at Rikers to bury the dead. Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday, citing concerns about profiteers selling overpriced hand sanitizer, announced that CorCraft, a company that uses New York State prison labor paid between 16¢ and $1.14 an hour, would be making 100,000 gallons a week of NY-branded hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer isn’t the only way the state plans to rely on its incarcerated population if the coronavirus outbreak becomes more severe. The Daily Beast also reported that New York City’s “Pandemic Influenza Surge Plan For Managing In- and Out-of-Hospital Deaths,” which was released in 2008, set up measures to have people incarcerated at the Rikers Island jail complex transported to Hart Island, where they would dig graves for those who die in cases of serious mass illness. The governor’s office did not respond to Slate’s inquiry about the use of prison labor to address the coronavirus. –Slate