The COVID-19 pandemic first emerged in the United States because of an outbreak at the Life Care Center of Kirkland. Interviews with residents’ family members and a review of 911 call logs obtained by The Seattle Times show a tragedy slowly unfolding. And as nursing homes nationwide prepare to protect residents from a virus that is especially dangerous for the elderly, the situation in Kirkland demonstrates a worst-case scenario and a cautionary tale for other facilities. See the full investigative story here.
I worked with investigative reporters Mary Hudetz and Asia Fields and designer/developer Emily Eng to build out this investigative story with the use of audio from 911 calls obtained through public disclosure requests. We mined through weeks of calls from the nursing home to match with known cases and deaths from COVID-19 and assembled an interactive timeline illustrating the slowly unfolding crisis. I also had filmed several press conferences with family members of Life Care resident — those who were ill or who had died and those still residing in the home hoping not to be infected. Together, the elements paint a powerful picture of what was at stake in the handling of the crisis.