Coronavirus-quarantined nursing home residents "held hostage in a petri dish," relative says

Nursing home coronavirus outbreak raises fear

Health officials have focused in on a cluster of conronavirus infections inside a nursing home outside of Seattle. Family members of LifeCare Center's elderly residents told CBS News their loved ones are being isolated in their rooms and their temperatures monitored daily, but they are concerned those showing symptoms will not be tested or hospitalized until critically ill.

The U.S.'s six coronavirus deaths have all been reported in Washington state. Officials in Washington's King County, where the nursing home is located, revealed plans to buy a motel and set up modular units to house coronavirus patients requiring isolation.

King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin said they "expect the number of cases will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks."     

Carmen Gray, whose mother Susan Haley is under quarantine at the nursing home, told CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti that she had asked to get her mother tested for the virus.

Gray said they told her that Haley "did not meet the criteria at this time."

"They're being held hostage in a petri dish," she said.

Outside of Washington, at least 14 other states have been scrambling to prepare as the number of cases between them all rose to at least 102.

The city of San Antonio, Texas declared a health emergency after a woman who tested positive for the virus was initially cleared and visited a mall before her final results came in. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg went after public health officials in a formal announcement.

"As mayor of this city, I find it totally unacceptable that CDC would release a patient prior to receiving all test results, and potentially expose the public to this harm."

San Antonio also tried and failed to file a temporary restraining order against the federal government to keep 120 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined longer than the two weeks required. The number of infections on board totaled 700.

President Trump vowed the government was moving with "maximum speed to develop therapy" in media comments made Monday, though officials say a vaccine is at least a year away.