Bonnie Holstad stood outside a long-term nursing facility in Washington state Sunday holding a sign in hopes of getting information on her husband’s condition.
Holstad’s husband, Ken, has been staying at the Life Care Center – where more than 50 residents and staff are experiencing coronavirus symptoms – after a fall that broke his hip.
He has Parkinson’s disease and dementia and also has a cough, she said.
“No one at Life Care is answering the phones,” the sign read. “He needs to be attended to … what is his temperature?”
At least two coronavirus cases have been confirmed at the center in Kirkland, Washington: a 40-year-old health care worker and a woman in her 70s who is hospitalized in serious condition. Four new presumptive positive cases were announced Sunday. More than 50 residents and staff will be tested after showing symptoms, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County.
In a statement, the facility said it’s not allowing visits from families, volunteers or vendors, and is also placing admissions on hold for the time being.
“I’m very worried for my husband,” Holstad said. “He’s one of the vulnerable people,” because of his age and his Parkinson’s disease.
A nurse did go down to check on him, she told CNN, and Holstad was told he doesn’t have a fever. He’s not being tested for the virus, she said, because he doesn’t have all symptoms required for testing.
“I was so angry. How can this be that I have to do this, make a sign and go down there?” Holstad said.
CNN emailed the Life Care Center on Sunday about Holstad’s husband but did not receive a response.
“I have real problems with how they’re handling the interface with family,” she said, remarking it was “sort of like a movie about an epidemic in a little town, and they don’t know how to handle the situation.”
It’s not just the question of his care, Holstad said, but also the fact that family members aren’t given any information on what they should be doing after being in contact with the center’s residents. Nine family members had visited her husband this week, she said.
Holstad noticed staff members wearing masks when she was there Wednesday, she said, but she was told it was because some residents had colds.
On Saturday, when she arrived with sandwiches to have lunch with her husband, there was a sign on the door that visitors weren’t allowed. It wasn’t until she got home and listened to a voicemail from the center that she knew about the coronavirus there.
Washington cases rise to 13
In all, 13 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Washington state.
The state has the second highest number of cases in the nation after California, which has 16. The only two confirmed deaths of coronavirus patients in the United States have occurred in Washington. The second death was a resident of the Life Care Center.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Saturday, directing state agencies to use all resources necessary to respond to the outbreak.
“This number is expected to rise as more people are tested and results confirmed,” a news release from the health department said.
CNN’s Faith Karimi and Mallika Kallingal contributed to this report.