Coronavirus outbreak at Seattle-area nursing home fueled by sick workers and lack of supplies, CDC finds

CDC probes coronavirus spread at nursing home

A CDC report covering the alarming coronavirus spread at Washington state's Life Care Center revealed that the nursing home's staff continued to work while showing coronavirus symptoms. The investigation found several missteps that assisted the center's outbreak, where 35 reported deaths have been linked to the hard-hit nursing home.

According to the investigation, several residents who had developed respiratory illness in mid-February tested negative for influenza. Roughly two weeks later, health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus. Since then, the agency reports, 62% of the roughly 130 elderly residents had become infected and 27% have died.

The probe found that staffers who had gone on to work a second shift at a different facility may have assisted in spreading the virus. At least 10 other nursing homes have reported cases of coronavirus in King County, where Life Care is located.

Other factors that contributed to the spread include inadequate personal protective equipment, a lack of hand sanitizer and limited testing.

"I'm in shock, this report is despicable," Carmen Gray, whose mother is one of the residents who tested positive, told CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti. "Both my sister and I had concerns about the lack of use of hand sanitizer and them only having masks on."

Gray said she was alarmed that staffers wore the same masks in and out of several different rooms.

"I hope they find this is an example of what not to do," she said.

Out of Life Care's staff, at least 34 coronavirus cases have been reported, as well as 14 visitors reporting infections.

Life Care Center Spokesman Timothy Killian said things "might have played out differently" if the nursing home had gotten tests earlier.

"Are there things within the report that are troubling to all of us? Of course," Killian said. "There were questions about proper infection control, this virus requires measures different than anything else we dealt with before."

The CDC report failed to address their own shortcoming with delayed testing, as well as Washington state health officials' initial response four days into the outbreak, where they stated their resources were stretched thin.