Chelsey Earnest, the nursing director, instantly recalls the worst day of her work effortlessly in the Kirkland Nursing Home.
It was on the 4 of March the sirens endlessly blared outside the Life Care Center.
The Deadly Virus Sneaks DespiteThe Country Gets Vaccinated, Including Its First Epicenter
She said that there were five ambulances in the parking lot. That night she figured out the whole cascade of symptoms of a virus that invaded four days before.
She sent her patients to the hospital thinking that they would get cured and released eventually, but they never came back.
The same night she had to manage a lot of upsetting phone calls. One of them was about her mother’s death. She remembers how she cried after hearing that.
Earnest remembers that nearly 70% of the staff were tested positive for coronavirus in March.
She was unaware of the fact that her nursing home’s neighborhood would become the first epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Reports came eventually from the state department of health with the death of 46 people from the coronavirus.
All were connected with the nursing home, including 39 patients. Earnest said that 10 patients died at the nursing home itself.
She also said that the supplies were limited in the nursing home and with a lot of casualties.
Above all, the most frightening thing was that they all were confronting the unknown virus for the first time.
After ten months of the outbreak, the frontline health workers, including herself, are finally equipped with the best weapon; the vaccine.
In the Life Care Center, the first to get vaccinated is Alice Cortez, a nursing manager.
With a voice filled with emotion, she said that everybody had an exciting day, including her team. She could feel a new life and beginning and a better life.
However, everyone in the nursing home is well aware that the virus is still sneaking and remains menacingly.
Currently, the Life Care Center in Kirkland has no positive cases of the virus.
Yet, among the 26 Life Care Center nursing homes in the region, eight facilities are reported to have the cases. 24 of the 26 nursing homes were, at one point of this year.
As of Dec. 13, 441,000 nursing home patients have tested positive for the coronavirus across the U.S, and 86,775 nursing home residents have died from the pandemic, according to the Center for Medicare and Medical Services. Additionally, 1,258 staff members have perished.
The vice president of the Life Care Centers of America Northwest division, Nancy Butner said that not a single day goes in the clinic without getting a phone call or message that let her know about the new positive cases in the nursing home.