While the risk for a coronavirus infection remains low for the vast majority of healthy young and middle-aged Americans, the same cannot be said of the risk for the elderly or those with underlying health issues, who typically have a weaker immune system and are more susceptible to disease.
Thus, there is some justifiable concern over a potential coronavirus outbreak at a long-term care facility for seniors in Washington state, The Hill reported. The state’s governor recently declared a state of emergency in light of coronavirus concerns.
Possible nursing home outbreak
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as Washington state health officials informed the media on Saturday that a possible outbreak of the new coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 had been detected at a nursing home called Life Care Center in Kirkland.
Two “presumptive positives” had already been noted at the facility, a female health care worker in her 40s as well as a female patient in her 70s. All told, officials were looking closely at and testing 27 of the facility’s 108 patients and 25 of its 180 staff members after they showed symptoms associated with the new virus.
A state health official named Jeff Duchin told the media that he and his fellow health officials were “very concerned about an outbreak in this setting, where there are many older people.”
Coinciding with the report of the possible coronavirus outbreak at the nursing home was the report of the first coronavirus-related death inside the U.S., also in Washington state, of a man in his 50s. Officials are reportedly looking for any possible link between that man’s death and the potential outbreak in the same region.
State of emergency
Meanwhile, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on Saturday declaring a state of emergency, a move intended to ensure that all relevant agencies and departments in his state, including the Washington National Guard, have the necessary resources at hand and are prepared to take on whatever the spreading virus may throw their way.
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” the governor said. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.”
In announcing the state of emergency, Gov. Inslee also took to Twitter to share some basic precautions that the vast majority of people can take to substantially reduce the likelihood that they would contract the COVID-19 virus, such as frequently washing their hands, frequently cleaning commonly-touched surfaces, effectively covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home while sick.
You can help protect yourself and your community.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) February 29, 2020
Truth be told, a significant majority of the American people have absolutely nothing to worry about at this point in terms of the coronavirus, as they are unlikely to even contract the virus much less suffer a severe enough case to warrant hospitalization.
That said, elderly people and those already suffering from an underlying health concern may be especially susceptible to the virus, hence the extra concern over a potential outbreak at a nursing home and the precautionary measures taken by Gov. Inslee in Washington state.