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US coronavirus deaths climb to 9 as Washington state confirms new fatalities

Healthcare workers transport a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance at Life Care Center of Kirkland on February 29, 2020 in Kirkland, Washington.

David Ryder | Getty Images

Washington state health officials on Tuesday identified three new coronavirus fatalities, including two patients who died on Feb. 26 and weren’t previously linked to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in the U.S. to nine. 

The two patients who died that day were affiliated with the Life Care Center of Kirkland, where several residents have fallen ill and at least three others have died. One of the patients, a female resident in her 80s, died in her family home. The other patient, a 54-year-old man, was transferred to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle from Life Care on Feb. 24 and had underlying medical conditions, the hospital said in a statement.

That brings the total number of deaths in the state and across the U.S. to nine. The total number of confirmed cases in Washington state is now 27, up from 18 on Monday. The state Department of Health said 231 people are being monitored by public health officials.

“This is a very fluid, fast-moving situation as we aggressively respond to this outbreak,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle & King County public health, said in a statement. “People with suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 should reach out to their healthcare provider. As public health professionals we really appreciate clinicians on the front lines of patient care and they are critical to this response.”

The Life Care Center of Kirkland, a skilled nursing care facility, has become the source of a potential outbreak.

At least five deaths in the U.S. have been traced back to Life Care, according to Washington state and local health officials. On Saturday, local health officials said about 50 residents and employees of the nursing care facility outside of Seattle were ill with “respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause” and were being tested for COVID-19.

There are now at least 108 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nine deaths.