Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary of preparedness and response for the US Department of Health and Human Services, described to a US Senate committee the type of experts he was hoping to send across the country.
“We’re looking to employ and deploy some of our national disaster medical system personnel as well as other federal health care personnel to assist at the Evergreen long-term treatment facility,” he said.
Four of the patients who died were residents of Life Care Center, a long-term nursing facility in a Seattle suburb. More than 50 residents and staff members were experiencing symptoms and were tested for the virus, King County health officer Jeffrey Duchin said Monday.
“Current residents and associates continue to be monitored closely, specifically for an elevated temperature, cough and/or shortness of breath,” officials said in a statement on the Life Care website. “Any resident displaying these symptoms is placed in isolation. Associates are screened prior to beginning work and upon leaving.”
The situation has residents frightened, US Sen. Patty Murray said during the Senate hearing, expressing concerns about testing protocol and the length of time it takes to get results.
“I’m hearing from people who are sick, who want to get tested, (who) are not being told where to go,” she said. “I’m hearing that even when people do get tested — and it’s very few so far — that results are taking way longer to get back to them.”
Feds ramp up testing
Up to 1 million people could be tested for coronavirus by the end of week, the FDA said, as cases across the US rose to more than 100 and health officials warned the number will keep climbing.
“My concern is as the next week or two or three go by, we’re going to see a lot more community-related cases,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news conference Monday. “That’s of great concern.”
He said up to 1 million tests will likely be conducted by the end of the week.
“We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency,” Hahn said in a statement. “We will continue to help to ensure sound science prior to clinical testing and follow-up with the critical independent review from the FDA, while quickly expanding testing capabilities in the U.S.”
With more labs testing for the virus, the CDC stopped publishing the number of patients tested in the country — a figure it had kept track of on its website.
“Now that states are testing and reporting their own results, CDC’s numbers may not represent all of the testing being done nationwide,” the agency said in a Tuesday email.
Cases climb, officials say risk still low
Meanwhile, state and health officials maintain there is no need to panic.
“We’ve seen an increase of cases in the United States over the weekend,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Monday. “I want folks to understand that we knew this was coming, we told folks that this was going to happen and it is why we’ve been preaching preparedness from the very start.”
Those who have shown no symptoms of coronavirus will be released Tuesday “in an orderly way to minimize potential exposure to the San Antonio community,” local health officials said.
Cases have also been detected in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin
New York has two cases: a 39-year-old health care worker who recently returned from Iran and a man in New Rochelle who works in Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The woman is in home isolation with her husband, and the New Rochelle man is ill in the hospital, the governor said.
Disease detectives have identified the woman’s close contacts, but they are still investigating the man’s travel, which an official says included a trip to Miami before he was infectious but no trips to China or any other country on the watch list, Cuomo said.
“We’re tracing that back now, but he did test positive and there’s no apparent connection so it would be what we call a community spread case,” Cuomo said on a Long Island radio show.
Nine in Santa Clara County, California
Twenty cases of the virus have been reported in California, the most of any state.
In Northern California, two more cases were confirmed Monday, according to Santa Clara County Public Health Department, bringing the county’s total to nine.
Alameda and Solano counties also each had a resident test positive for the virus, the counties’ health departments said in a news release Sunday.
Both are health care workers who were exposed to a patient at University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, the release said.
More than 120 UC Davis health care staff self-quarantined after possibly being exposed to the patient last week. The case sparked a change in testing guidelines by the CDC after the patient remained untested for days in the hospital because the patient didn’t meet existing guidelines.
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Laura Ly, Andy Rose, Ben Tinker and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.