A Washington state nursing home has confirmed that a worker and a resident have both tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 82,000 people since it was first discovered late last year, the Washington Examiner reports.
The skilled nursing facility said Saturday that 27 residents and 25 staff members are also reporting symptoms that could be consistent with the virus, but they have not yet been tested, according to the Examiner.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the worker, who is in her 40s, is in good condition and is expected to recover. The 70-something resident is in serious condition, however.
The cases are not believed to be connected to another coronavirus case in Washington state, where a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions died Friday of the disease. His death is the first in the U.S. from the virus, according to the Examiner.
Most cases mild
A full 80% of the known cases of the virus are mild, and some who have tested positive don’t even have the usual symptoms like fever, coughing, or trouble breathing, the Journal reported.
The death rate in China is around 2%, but medical care and sanitation are far different there than in the U.S. It remains to be seen whether the death rate in the U.S. will be as high as it is there.
In a facility filled with older people in poor health, like a nursing home, though, the virus could quickly become widespread and affect many people who are at risk for the more serious complications of the illness.
The nursing home where cases have been reported has 108 residents and 180 staffers, the Examiner reported.
Public health challenge
“We are facing a historic public health challenge,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said of COVID-19 on a press call Saturday. “While we still hope for the best, we continue to prepare for this virus to become more widespread in the United States.”
Twenty-four people have contracted the virus so far inside the United States, while another 42 have been brought back into the United States already sick, the Journal reported.
According to the Journal, health officials advised people in the U.S. to wash their hands often, avoid those who appear to be sick, and stay home if they are sick.
The Trump administration has restricted travel of foreigners from China to the United States since early February, and yesterday, it moved to limit the travel of foreign nationals who have recently visited Iran, where many new cases have been reported, the Journal said.