EVERETT — Two more long-term care facilities in Snohomish County have confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Snohomish Health District.
The health district declined to identify the facilities, each of which have been linked to four or fewer cases. To protect patient privacy, the health district generally only names such facilities if they are associated with five or more cases, said health district spokeswoman Kari Bray.
Long-term care facilities include nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, Bray said.
In all, COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in staff or residents at four such facilities in the county as of Wednesday afternoon. Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood is one, the health district first said on March 10. Sunrise View Convalescent Center and Retirement Villa in Everett has since joined the list. Both organizations have barred visitors.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Josephine was linked to 18 cases and Sunrise View was connected to 22, according to the health district. The facilities have seen three deaths: a man in his 70s connected to Sunrise View died on Friday; a female Josephine resident in her 90s died on March 19; and a man in his 80s who lived at Josephine died on March 9. All three had underlying health conditions, according to the health district.
Sunrise View Administrator Diane Lopes said the first case of COVID-19 there was confirmed in a resident on March 14.
Ten days earlier, Sunrise View prohibited visitors as a precautionary measure, Lopes said.
Staff numbers are down, creating a strain on employees who show up for their shifts, she said.
“People are not coming to work. They’re scared,” she said. “There’s a lot of unknowns and there’s no answers.”
As of Monday, several staffers were absent because they were awaiting test results, Lopes said.
Sunrise View and Josephine, which each operate a nursing home and an assisted living facility, have expressed concerns about a shortage of personal protective equipment for staff members.
Lopes said staff are trying to find places to buy gowns, gloves, masks and other equipment, but the items are in short supply everywhere.
“Masks we’re real short of,” Lopes said on Monday. “We have not received anything from the health department.”
The Snohomish Health District is working with county emergency management officials to field questions and requests regarding personal protective equipment, and a team is working to prioritize and fill requests when supplies are available, Bray said in an email.
“The shortage of personal protective equipment remains a challenge for long-term care facilities, medical providers, first responders, and others who interact with patients. Because this is a pandemic, this concern also is not unique to Snohomish County or Washington state. These supplies are widely in demand,” she said.
The health district team responds when cases surface in long-term care facilities, Bray said.
“The team goes to the facility and helps with guidance on reducing the risk of infection. This guidance may include identifying specific risks of spreading infection in the facility, ensuring that the facility is limiting visitors and group activities, reviewing enhanced cleaning protocols, and helping coordinate testing for staff or residents,” she said. “Any staff member or resident who is symptomatic may be tested for COVID-19.”