Five residents of a nursing home in Colville, Washington, have died of Covid-19 after an outbreak last month that infected 74 people, officials said.
The Northeast Tri-County Health District attributed the infections to the more transmissible Delta variant, which has been blamed for the surge in cases and hospitalizations across the country since the middle of the summer.
The district, in a statement Thursday, described the variant as “ruthless” and said 35 people have died in Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens counties, which it serves, since September 1.
The first case at the home was reported on August 25, according to the health district. Since then, 22 staff members and 52 residents were infected, the district said. It noted that until this outbreak, the nursing home had managed to stave off the virus.
CNN has contacted Prestige Care and Rehabilitation, the operator of the nursing center in Colville, but did not immediately hear back.
“Of the 74 total cases related to this outbreak 33 of the individuals were fully vaccinated and of the five individuals who passed one individual was fully vaccinated,” the health district said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study about so-called breakthrough cases, which occur when someone tests positive for Covid-19 at least 14 days after they have been fully vaccinated.
In those rare cases when a fully vaccinated person gets infected, data suggests it’s older adults and those with multiple underlying medical conditions who are most at risk of serious illness, the study said.
About 70% of breakthrough cases resulting in hospitalization were among adults 65 and older and about 87% of breakthrough cases resulting in death were among adults 65 and older, the CDC data suggested.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, nearly 69% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
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