State expands unemployment benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19 outbreak


Seattle & King County Public Health officials said in a statement Monday that they were working with the University of Washington to get Life Care workers tested.

The bulk of the cases are in King County, where 15 of the deaths have been reported in what remains the nation's worst outbreak. Both were residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing home that has been the epicenter of the outbreak and connected to 14 of the deaths.

The testing is in partnership with the University of Washington.

The Seattle-area nursing home at the epicenter of the United States coronavirus outbreak says it has no kits to test 65 employees who are showing symptoms of the virus.

Residents need to be isolated in their rooms away from other people at a facility that has one or more residents, staff, contractors or volunteers who are subject to a state or local recommendation or order of isolation or quarantine for COVID-19.

"We would like more kits to test employees", Life Care Center spokesman Tim Killian told reporters, adding he did not know why they had not been forthcoming.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has been regularly updating a statewide count of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths by county.

The virus has infected at least 600 people in the U.S.

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Officials said one was a woman in her 80s who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on March 6.

The global death toll is around 3,800 with more than 110,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Officials had previously announced five Florida residents who had been traveling in China have also been quarantined elsewhere after testing positive for the virus. Six of the 60 life care staff (60) of the 60 life care workers who entered the home to remain independent said they showed signs consistent with 60 COVID-19.

Employees must be screened for symptoms at the start of each shift and the facilities are not allowed to disclose confidential health information, he said. Two senior communities - the Ida Culver House Ravenna, a retirement home in northeast Seattle, and the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in suburban Issaquah, reported one case each.

On Saturday morning, eight people in the Sun State were HIV positive for COVID-19, including a non-resident.

First responders were concerned that staff members were not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to handle the high number of patients with probable coronavirus.

"We are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required", he said, but didn't elaborate.

As in other countries, Americans this week faced a new reality in which they were often asked to stay home from work, schools were closed, large gatherings and sporting events canceled, and stores emptied of staples like toiletries and water.