The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially…

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Feds propose fine for Seattle-area nursing home where at least 40 died.

— U.S. calls for governments to release people jailed for practicing religion.

— Louisiana has 42% spike in virus cases as backlogged test results pour in.

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SEATTLE — Federal authorities have proposed a $611,000 fine for a Seattle-area nursing home connected to at least 40 coronavirus deaths.

State regulators and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted an inspection of the Life Care Center of Kirkland on March 16, finding serious infractions that they said placed residents in immediate danger.

Authorities said Life Care had at least partially fixed the most serious problems by the time they conducted follow-up inspection last weekend. In a letter to Life Care on Wednesday, CMS proposed a fine of $611,000, but said that could be adjusted up or down based on how Life Care continues to correct remaining problems.

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RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia long-term care facility that tested all of its residents because of the scope of its coronavirus outbreak announced more deaths Thursday, bringing the total to 16, but said many residents who tested positive showed no signs of being ill.

The testing more than doubled the number of confirmed cases at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, according to a statement from the facility. Ninety-two in-house or hospitalized residents tested positive, the statement said, up from a total earlier in the week of 41.

Of those who tested positive, 53, or about 58%, showed no sign of being ill.

Canterbury’s medical director, Dr. Jim Wright, said in an interview this week that at one point in the outbreak, staff were triaging patients in a way he never expected to see in the United States.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — More than 5,000 medical masks that an Alabama county received from the national stockpile were rotted, the local emergency management director said.

States and cities are receiving shipments from the National Strategic Stockpile to try to relieve shortages in medical equipment because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Christi Thornton, director of the Montgomery City/County Emergency Management Agency, said the shipment of 5,880 procedure masks was unusable because of dry rot. The masks had a 2010 expiration date, according to the city’s response to a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Thornton said they received a replacement shipment Wednesday.

Alabama has more than 1,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the state health department. There have been 32 COVID-19 deaths reported to the state; health officials have so far confirmed 17 of them.

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BRUSSELS — NATO foreign ministers have tasked the organization’s top military officer to help improve the 30-nation military alliance’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday the ministers had asked General Tod D. Wolters “to coordinate the necessary military support to combat the crisis, to speed up and step up assistance.”

Wolters’ job will be to locate the right aircraft to help deliver medical supplies, coordinate the use of any surplus stocks and equipment among members and ensure they reach countries most in need quickly.

While the disease is hitting all its member countries and could yet raise security concerns, NATO itself has no front-line role to play against its spread, apart from supporting national efforts with logistical, transportation and communications help.

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LONDON — The British government has written off 13.4 billion pounds ($16.5 billion) of historic debt that hospitals owe in order to free up resources in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at the government’s daily news conference that it was a “landmark step” for the National Health Service.

Following days of criticism, Hancock also spelled out a five-point plan to ratchet up tests for the virus from 10,000 a day to 100,000 by the end of the month.

U.K. figures earlier showed that the number of people who have died from the virus had risen by a daily 569 to 2,921.

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WASHINGTON — Army soldiers are setting up a military hospital at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field and it will include 250 beds for non-coronavirus patients.

Lt. Col. Jason Hughes, from the Army’s 10th Field Hospital out of Fort Carson, Colorado, said there will be about 500 medical professionals at the hospital, and they will be ready to take patients early next week.

He told Pentagon reporters that the soldiers are putting up barriers in the tents to add…

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