March 20, 2020
Best of the States
‘He's an inmate’: Anguish mounts over nursing home at center of virus
The Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, has emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. At least 35 coronavirus deaths have been linked to the facility, and more than half of those inside have tested positive, leaving the remaining residents in a sort of purgatory that has anguished their relatives.
Photographer Ted Warren has spent much of his time recently outside the long-term care center, documenting in heartrending photos how people have tried to communicate with mothers, fathers and loved ones through windows because visitors are no longer allowed inside.
Warren found an ideal subject for conveying this desperation in the story of 86-year-old Chuck Sedlacek. With reporting by Gene Johnson, the pair delivered a package that detailed the isolation and anguish faced by the nursing home residents and their families – a feeling of helplessness many more are likely to experience as the disease spreads across the country.
For compelling work that conveys the frustration and despair of families coping with the coronavirus at a facility in the glare of the media spotlight, Warren and Johnson earn this week’s Best of the States award.