‘We’re with you’: Vice President Pence addresses rising coronavirus death toll in Washington state

Sept. 18, 2019: Pence talks to Ukrainian President Zelensky by phone.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed coronavirus concerns at a press conference in Washington state on Thursday. 

“Washington state is on the frontlines of coronavirus in America,” Pence began by saying. 

As of Thursday, Pence said there are at least 150 cases nationwide, 70 of which are confirmed in Washington state. 

Of the 12 U.S. deaths so far, 11 of them have been in Washington, the majority in King County. The other death was a resident in California.  

READ: King County resident dies from coronavirus, bringing Washington death toll to 11

Pence says, because of that statistic, the CDC is prioritizing delivering kits to Washington state and California for future coronavirus testing. 

He also announced the White House is raising standards for nursing homes nationwide, since he said the vast majority of people infected are elderly and have underlying health concerns.   

All 8,000 inspectors will be focusing on nursing home compliance to keep those residents as safe as possible, Pence said. 

“Our message to families all across the state of Washington is simply this,” Pence said. “We’re with you. We are here to help and we are going to stay with you every step of the way until the state of Washington and the rest of America sees our way through the coronavirus.”  

RELATED: Spokane patient tests negative for COVID-19, Health District says