SAN FRANCISCO — Seniors at a Northern California assisted living facility have been placed in a two-week quarantine after a resident — a woman in her 90s — died of the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.
Carlton Senior Living confirmed in a statement that a resident of its Elk Grove facility died at a hospital Tuesday. It said 140 residents would be isolated in their apartments.
The death comes in the wake of 19 deaths at a nursing home in Washington state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned visitors at nursing homes in Washington. State officials are now working with 10 nursing facilities where residents or workers have tested positive.
Carlton said in a statement that it “immediately took action to elevate precautionary measures in efforts to prevent the spread to our communities.” The company runs 13 assisted living facilities in Northern California.
Sacramento County health officials said they are investigating exposure to others at the Elk Grove facility and no visitors would be allowed at that home until there are no contagious residents.
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed on Wednesday banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people, including Golden State Warriors games, following the same decision by Santa Clara County. The mayor last week called off non-essential gatherings of 50 or more people at city-owned properties, such as City Hall, the convention center and performing arts centers.
“We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health,” Breed said in a statement, adding that the Warriors supported her decision.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged the state’s nearly 40 million residents to avoid sporting events, concerts and large gatherings and adamantly warned the elderly to stay away from cruise ships.
The Vast Majority of People Recover From the New Virus
The warning came as California continued the painstaking process of disembarking more than 2,000 passengers from a cruise ship struck by the virus and moving them to military bases around the U.S. for a two-week quarantine. The Grand Princess remained docked in the Port of Oakland Wednesday.
“I don’t think people should be on cruise ships that are elderly,” Newsom said. “I don’t think you should high-five one another and hug strangers at large sporting events if you have an underlying health condition.”
He said legal advisers are reviewing the possibility of restricting cruise travel off the California coast as he awaits new federal guidelines on the cruise industry. He said cruise lines ought to introduce aggressive requirements for travelers “at the peril of that industry collapsing.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. More than 80,000 people in China have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. More than 61,000 have recovered.
Three people have died and nearly 160 Californians have tested positive so far, a tally that does not include at least 21 people who tested positive while aboard the Grand Princess. Three TSA employees at Mineta San Jose Airport also tested positive and any employees who had contact with them in the past 14 days were quarantined, the agency said.
Most of the Crew Members Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus Did Not Show Symptoms
Newsom expects the number of cases to significantly rise as more test kits become available.
Many communities have already canceled parades, conferences and large gatherings. Officials in some California cities have gone further. Santa Clara County on Monday announced a ban on all gatherings of 1,000 people or more, putting the status of San Jose Sharks hockey games, the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Stanford and one Major League Soccer game in question. Many school districts have canceled extracurricular activities or moved classes online.
Newsom stopped short of calling for games to be canceled, but said sports leagues and local health officials bear the responsibility to ensure that large events can be held safely.
As of Tuesday night, more than 1,400 passengers had been taken off the Grand Princess cruise ship. They included 26 with medical needs not related to the coronavirus who were taken by ambulance to hospitals and 228 Canadians who were flown home.
About 1,100 crew members, 19 of whom tested positive for the virus, will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship, which will anchor offshore after passengers are unloaded. Canada said six of its citizens from the crew flew home Monday and Newsom said talks are underway to repatriate many of the crew members to their home in the Philippines.
Most of the crew members who tested positive for coronavirus did not show symptoms, a Princess spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Another Princess ship, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, last month because of the virus. Ultimately, about 700 of the 3,700 people aboard became infected in what experts pronounced a public health failure.