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Eastern State Hospital nurse dies from coronavirus, family says

The hospital won't confirm the nurse's cause of death.

MEDICAL LAKE, Wash — A nurse at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake died Wednesday after contracting COVID-19.

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services is not officially confirming his cause of death, but KREM 2 confirmed it through other sources.

Eastern State Hospital is also not commenting on the nurse’s cause of death, but issued the following statement:

“We are devastated by the loss of one of our DSHS colleagues. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. [He] was a dedicated Licensed Practical Nurse at Eastern State Hospital for more than three decades and he will be greatly missed.”

KREM 2 is not naming the nurse to protect the family’s privacy.

The DSHS website currently lists two employees at Eastern State Hospital as having been diagnosed with COVID-19, but doesn’t list any employee deaths from the virus.

When KREM asked DSHS officials why the nurse’s death isn’t reflected in agency numbers, a department spokesperson said, “Eastern State is tracking those who die at their facility because of COVID-19. But, they would not comment on cause of death for an employee who passed away outside of work.”

So far, 43 employees have tested negative for the virus at Eastern State Hospital in addition to the two employees who have tested positive, according to DSHS data. Five tests are still pending.

As for patients, DSHS says 14 have been tested and all have come back negative.

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