Owner of KCK facility tied to Kansas’ first coronavirus death also runs Washington home

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WICHITA, Kan. — The nursing home resident who became Kansas’ first coronavirus-related death was infected at the Life Care Center of Kansas City, which is owned by the same company that runs the facility in Washington state linked to 22 fatalities, state health officials said Friday.

Dr. Lee Norman, the Kansas Department of Health secretary, said officials will be focusing on whether there has been any personnel sharing between the nursing homes in Kirkland, Washington, and the one in Kansas. Life Care has skilled nursing facilities across the country.

RELATED: Wyandotte County man is first COVID-19 death in Kansas

Health officials haven’t found “any particular source of infection for this person. He was bed-bound so the infection came to him,” Norman said.

No other residents of the Wyandotte County nursing home have been reported to be showing symptoms, although the investigation is still in its early stages, he said.

Life Care Center of Kansas City referred all calls to another phone number whose voicemail box was full.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency as part of federal efforts to curb the pandemic. Gov. Laura Kelly has already declared a state of emergency in Kansas to make it easier to mobilize resources.

The number of coronavirus cases in Kansas grew to six on Friday. A 72-year-old Butler County man developed symptoms days after returning from a Caribbean cruise, and health officials said the man is in isolation in a Wichita hospital.

Four other COVID-19 cases have been reported in Johnson County. All of them become infected while traveling out of state.

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