Kirkland, WA, “Tip of the Spear” in Coronavirus Fight

 In Domestic, Science

The Washington death toll from COVID-19 stands at 10 – all in Kirkland, with connections to a nursing home. There are dozens being monitored, including 27 first responders who visited the Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA, where the outbreak occurred. US and Washington state officials called it the “tip of the spear” in the fight against an unseen enemy.

The 27 first responders include 25 firemen and 2 police officers, all of which are staying at Fire Station 21 in lieu of going home in order to prevent the spread of the virus. the fire station is completely shut down, with signs on the door to prevent entry. (KIRO)

One person in Nevada and one in North Carolina who visited the Kirkland Center are in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus. A group of 21 students and staff from Lake Washington Tech toured the facility about a week ago. The school was closed for disinfecting and cleaning on March 3.

One death in California from the virus was the first one outside of Washington state.

Vice President Pence met with Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington health teams on Thursday to go over what is being done and how the Federal government can assist the state.

At a press briefing after the meetings, the CDC representative said that “Washington is the tip of the spear” in the fight against the coronavirus.

There are 230 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US. Some of them are cases of person- to -person or “community” transmission in 22 states. According to the Vice President, 49 of those were “repatriated” from out break sites overseas. Fourteen Americans have died from COVID-19 as of this writing according to NPR. Two persons in Evergreen Health Medical Center in Kirkland died from the virus on Thursday.

Remember this part: the vast majority of those infected are recovering.

ALWAYS keep in mind that literally thousands of people die from plain old  influenza every year. A few normal precautions can make a difference (staying home when sick, hand sanitizers of OVER 60% alcohol or hospital grade antiseptic wipes, skip shaking hands, etc).  Pharmaceutical companies are working to prepare therapeutic medicines to combat the symptoms of the disease, as agencies from the US Army to Israeli scientists are pushing to find a vaccine.

VP Pence and the CDC representative emphasized that the very old, persons with compromised immune systems, and the very young are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. That fact is one reason that the Life Care Center in Kirkland has been so hard hit with the virus. They may have had gaps in their compliance with regulations, as many “5-star” nursing homes do, according to Kaiser Health.

A representative for CMS, an agency that monitors nursing homes for safety,  told the reporters that all nursing homes have protocols in case of infectious diseases. But the organization will be working with every nursing home in the US to make sure that they are in compliance with those protocols. Representatives of the organization are at Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington to review their procedures.

Vice President Pence stated that of the $8 Billion passed by Congress for the coronavirus, around $3+ billion is earmarked for local and state medical officials to combat the spread of the disease with H95 masks, face shields, and other needed medical supplies.

All in all, we should all be thankful we live in the United States.

Featured photo: screenshot from press briefing on Coronavirus in Washington via Global News (Canada)

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