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As of Friday, seven residents of the Life Care Center in Washington state have died of coronavirus

By Robyn Merrett
March 07, 2020 12:09 AM
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An elderly Washington state couple have been separated after a local nursing home was forced to go under quarantine due to the coronavirus.

On Friday, Charlie Campbell was seen taking his mother Dorothy Campbell, 88, to see her husband of 60 years Gene Campbell, 89, at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland.

In heartbreaking photos obtained by PEOPLE, Dorothy is seen peering through a window, talking to Gene, who is holding a phone to his ear on the inside. Charlie is captured gently holding on to his mother’s arms as she speaks with his father.

Dorothy and Charlie were also photographed leaving the facility, both with somber looks on their faces.

Eight of the state’s 70 coronavirus cases have been linked to Life Care Center, CNN reported. As of Friday, seven residents of the facility have died of coronavirus.

Families with loved ones at the facility have expressed concern over the number of deaths.

Pat Herrick explained that she feels the nurses at the facility are being overworked, especially after they called to tell her that her mother Elaine was in stable condition — despite already being dead.

“That’s bulls—,” Herrick said she told the worker. “My mother died at 3:30 this morning,” Herrick told CNN, adding that the staffer responded in shock and later revealed she had not read Herrick’s mother’s full chart.

Dorothy Campbell
Credit: JASON REDMOND/Getty Images

“They’re also feeling beaten down, I’m sure,” Herrick told CNN.

Life Care Center issued a statement on Thursday, explaining that they are “continuing to provide care for our residents, the facility’s highest priority, and our associates, who are our greatest resource in delivering care.”

“Our clinical team is making personal, one-on-one telephone calls with family members to share information about loved ones and respond to questions. Communication is vital in the caregiving process and for keeping families abreast of developments in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19).”

“We have been working on-site with representatives from the King County Health Department, Washington State Department of Public Health and the CDC. Current residents and associates continue to be monitored closely. Associates are screened prior to beginning work and upon leaving with a specific screening protocol. Any associate who exhibits symptoms is self-quarantined at home.”

Dorothy Campbell
Dorothy and Charlie Campbell
| Credit: JASON REDMOND/Getty Images

“Our associates are the true heroes in this fight, overcoming their own fears and concerns about the disease to faithfully show up and work sacrificially for our residents. They are working tirelessly day after day and are calling in to check on their residents even when at home.”

“We grieve with the families who have lost loved ones; people who were important members of our professional family. Life is sacred and precious, and when it is lost, a little bit of those in their circle of friends dies with them. We extend our sympathies and our prayers for peace and comfort in such time of sorrow.”

More than 50 of the facility’s residents and medical personnel are being tested for coronavirus, CNN Reported.

On Thursday, Washington state officials announced that the number of cases present in the area had jumped from 39 to 70.

The first reported case in the U.S. was announced in January and the first death was reported on Feb. 29 — both incidents occurred in Washington state.

As of Friday, 14 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness — 13 in Washington state, and one in California.

Dorothy Campbell
Dorothy and Charlie Campbell
| Credit: JASON REDMOND/Getty Images

There are now 231 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 101,587 worldwide.

The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness began in Wuhan, China, in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.

At first, this coronavirus was contained to China, but Wuhan is a major transportation hub with hundreds of flights leaving and landing from the city of 11 million each day. Soon, as people flew from the area to different countries, the coronavirus reached more countries, including the U.S.