First Kansas COVID-19 death linked to care facility in Seattle where more than 20 died from virus

More than 30 deaths linked to Washington care center.


Officials continue to investigate how a man at a Wyandotte County, Kansas, long-term care facility contracted COVID-19 and died earlier this week.

The man, who was in his 70s, lived at the Life Care Center of Kansas City off 61st Street in Kansas City, Kansas, officials say.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Sunday the man was taken to Providence Medical Center in KCK for what was believed to be cardiac issues.

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said that during the man's treatment, health care providers made the decision to administer a test for the coronavirus because the man had a fever. The testing was done postmortem, and the test came back positive for the coronavirus.

The man was bed-bound at the facility. Health officials said this makes his case the first "community case" of COVID-19, meaning it was spread to him; he did not contract the virus in a foreign country or another state.

"As a skilled nursing facility resident, and one who is not mobile really, he had to have gotten it from someplace. So by definition, it was in the community," Norman said.

Health officials are now working to determine who may have had contact with the man.

KMBC 9, our sister station in Kansas City, has learned the Life Care Center facility where the man was living is owned by the same company as the Life Care facility where multiple fatalities have been reported in Seattle.

The facility released a statement and a timeline involving the patient who died:

"We have begun notifying our families, residents and associates as of this report.

"HIPAA privacy guidelines prevent the sharing of personal patient information. With that, here is an outline of all the information we are able to share regarding this situation:

  • The patient began their stay when they were discharged to Life Care Center of Kansas City from Providence Health Center on Feb. 25.
  • On Saturday, March 7, the patient was transferred to a local hospital to receive care for a medical issue entirely unrelated to symptoms or signs of COVID-19. The patient was treated in the emergency room and released by the hospital back to our facility on the same day.
  • On Tuesday, March 10, the patient became unresponsive in our facility. We called 911, and the patient was transferred to the hospital. The patient did not exhibit signs or symptoms of respiratory illness when discharged to the hospital.
  • On Wednesday, March 11, the patient passed away in the hospital.
  • At 4:30 p.m. on March 12, we received notification from the health department that a
  • post-mortem test was conducted showing the patient as positive for COVID-19.
  • We immediately isolated any patient who had known contact with the patient.
  • As of today, Friday, March 13, we have no other patients or staff who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

"Prior to this incident and continuing now, we have been following all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19. Our associates are being diligent on practicing proper hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment, which is recurring education they normally receive, beginning with their orientation at our facility. Every associate is also screened when they arrive for work, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into our building. If they have a fever over 100.4, we send them home and ask they contact their personal physician."

Providence Medical Center released a statement that read in part:

"Our hospital has identified the staff who came into contact with the patient while providing care and is following all guidelines regarding healthcare work exposure.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the patient’s family. At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, physicians, volunteers, and community."