The Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

The Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Big COVID outbreak at Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood

Since Oct. 26, 94 people, including residents and staff, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

STANWOOD — A long-term care facility in Stanwood has dealt with 94 new COVID cases since Oct. 26, the Snohomish Health District reported Friday.

At Josephine Caring Community, 53 residents and 41 employees have tested positive for the virus. It’s the largest long-term care home outbreak recorded during the pandemic, according to health district data.

“As we learned early on in this pandemic, COVID-19 infections can spread incredibly fast in congregate living environments like these,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, the county’s health officer, in a news release. “This is why we have taken such drastic measures in Snohomish County and statewide to protect these vulnerable populations. I implore everyone to double-down their efforts so we can prevent more scenarios like this from happening.”

The first new case at Josephine was recorded on Oct. 26. In the past two to three days, the number of cases has tripled.

“Once it gets into a congregate setting like this, it spreads like wildfire,” health district spokesperson Heather Thomas said.

Josephine Caring Community provides assisted living, transitional rehabilitation services and long-term care.

As of Friday, there were a couple of hospitalizations linked to the outbreak but no known deaths, she said.

Cases span all areas of the facility’s campus, except the home health unit.

“The concern was always that it was going to leak into long-term care facilities and cause an uptick in hospitalizations,” she said. “We’re certainly seeing that now in Snohomish County.”

The outbreak comes as Snohomish County, and much of Washington, has experienced record-shattering highs in COVID case counts. Hospitalizations from the virus are also on the rise.

So far, local and state health jurisdictions haven’t pinpointed a single event that could have spurred the outbreak.

With increased virus transmission, the risk of employees or visitors bringing COVID into long-term care homes rises, Spitters said earlier this week.

Weeks ago, the health district reported a large outbreak at Regency Care Monroe, where more than 50 people tested positive for COVID-19.

This is the second outbreak to hit the Stanwood facility since the pandemic landed in Snohomish County.

In March, Josephine Caring Community went into lockdown after a handful of positive test results.

By mid-April, there were 33 cases linked to the facility, and at least six people had died.

As of Monday, there were four outbreaks at long-term care homes in the county, including Josephine and Regency Care Monroe.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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