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News >  Spokane

Eastern State Hospital staff member tests positive for coronavirus

UPDATED: Thu., April 2, 2020

A longtime nurse at Eastern State Hospital, seen in 2016, has died of COVID-19. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A longtime nurse at Eastern State Hospital, seen in 2016, has died of COVID-19. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A staff member at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Department of Social and Health Services confirmed.

The staff member is one of 21 people who is either employed by, or in the care of, the state agency at one of its all-hours locations who has contracted the virus, according to information released by the department Tuesday morning.

The staff member was tested March 23 and received the test results Friday, a DSHS spokeswoman said Tuesday. She did not have additional details about the staff member or whether they were receiving treatment at a hospital or remaining at home.

Most of the department’s confirmed cases have been found at Western State Hospital in Lakewood. As of Tuesday, six patients and 12 staff members at Western State Hospital had tested positive for the virus. One patient has died.

Last week, a union representing workers at the mental health care facility requested additional training, instruction and equipment, according to a report in the Tacoma News Tribune.

Eastern State Hospital is a 287-bed mental health treatment facility serving 20 counties in Eastern Washington. Patients are either civilly committed or ordered for treatment there through the court system.

Other Social and Health Services facilities with confirmed cases of the coronavirus are the Child Study & Treatment Center in Lakewood and the Fircrest School in Shoreline.

Earlier this month, the department limited visitors at its 24/7 facilities to case workers and advocacy groups in an effort to stop the virus’ spread.

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