An outbreak of the novel coronavirus at a Washington state nursing home has left four dead and dozens of residents and staff members ill. Yakima County health officials said the outbreak, at Summitview Healthcare Center, was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“In most, if not all, outbreaks at congregate living facilities, COVID-19 was introduced into the facility via community transmission,” Dr. Teresa Everson, health officer of Yakima County, said in a news release. “For this reason, we must do everything we can as individuals, on behalf of our community, to stop the spread of COVID-19. There is still time to stop this trajectory and ensure it doesn’t reach more of our vulnerable community members, our high-risk family members and neighbors. We know from our prior success that if we all follow the recommendations, we will see a drop in COVID-19 activity.”
The news release said that recent data implicates the area is entering a “second wave” of COVID-19 activity, leading to increased cases and hospitalizations. Officials warned that the sharp rise is expected to lead to increased hospitalizations for several weeks.
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“Our sincere condolences go out to community members who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19,” Andre Fresco, executive director of the health district, said in the news release. “These losses are deeply felt by our entire community. We must continue to think of each other and work diligently to ensure COVID-19 disease activity in our community declines.”
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The fatal outbreak infected 27 staff members and 23 residents at the nursing home. It was not clear when the outbreak began or if it had been contained, but all four deaths occurred among residents. According to Washington State Health Department, there have been 137,411 cases of coronavirus, and 2,603 deaths since the pandemic began. Yakima County, specifically, has seen 12,710 cases, and 291 deaths.
“With a drop in temperatures in the fall and winter, people are more likely to participate in higher risk activities such as socializing indoors without masks on, in close proximity,” health officials warned. “As more individuals engaged in high-risk behavior, there will be an increase in COVID-19 activity across the community as there is no vaccine available at this time.”