Two additional deaths from a COVID-19 outbreak at a Visalia nursing home were reported Wednesday. A total of eight people associated with the facility have now died.
Tulare County health officials say 54 residents and staff at Redwood Springs Health Center have been infected since the outbreak began. The health department said the latest fatalities were both over 65.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the friends and families who lost their loved one due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “This virus spreads quickly, so the most important thing you can do is stay home to prevent the spread.”
All patients and staff at the 176-bed facility are being tested and the facility is receiving staffing support from the county, the state and area hospitals, Redwood Springs administrator Anita Hubbard said.
“We’re grateful to our dedicated team whose service and sacrifices enable us to fight this pandemic,” she said.
Staffing the home with so many staff members sick is challenging but the county is prepared to evacuate the home only as an “absolute worst-case scenario,” Tim Lutz, director of the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency, told the Visalia Times Delta.
Second Tulare County Outbreak
Now, a second nursing home in Tulare County is battling an outbreak of the deadly virus, as well.
Eleven residents at Lindsay Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility tested positive for COVID-19, the Tulare County health department announced Wednesday.
The 99-bed skilled nursing facility is in Lindsay, about 13 miles east of the city of Tulare.
Facility Staff Notified Health Department
“Lindsay Gardens administration reached out to Tulare County Public Health as soon as they observed symptomatic residents and those residents were able to be tested,” Tulare County health officials said in a news release.
“At this time, Tulare County Public Health staff are working actively with Lindsay Gardens and the CDPH Healthcare-Associated Infection program on ensuring they understand the guidelines for caring for COVID-19 patients and appropriately keeping them separate from the residents who are non-symptomatic,” the statement said.
The Tulare County health department reported 352 positive cases across the county as of Wednesday afternoon. The county has now reported 15 deaths.
A total of 457 people in Tulare County are under self-quarantine and being monitored, the department’s website reports.
COVID-19 Found in Nursing Homes Statewide
Nursing homes are considered among the highest-risk places for coronavirus outbreaks because many residents are elderly, have existing health conditions and are in close contact.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, two more resident deaths were reported at Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward, for a total of 13. Nearly 70 residents and staff are infected.
The Alameda County District Attorney has launched a criminal investigation into patient deaths at the facility, which in the past has been cited by state regulators for lacking sufficient staff.
Under Alameda County guidelines that took effect Tuesday, licensed nursing and care facilities must take the temperatures of staff, contractors and other essential visitors before allowing them entry; cancel communal dining and make sure staff wear masks and residents don them when leaving their rooms.
Several other Bay Area care facilities also are tackling COVID-19 outbreaks.
Four people have died at Orinda Care Center in Orinda, which had more than 50 cases, and one person has died at the East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center in Castro Valley, which reported some 45 cases among residents and staff.
Nearly 60 virus cases were reported at Carlton Senior Living in Pleasant Hill in Contra Costa County.
In Santa Clara County, health officials said at least 300 patients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at 24 long-term care facilities and there have been 15 deaths. The facilities weren’t identified.
Two residents of an independent living facility also died, the county said.
At least three deaths have occurred at a nursing home and an assisted living facility in San Mateo County, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Nursing Homes Account for One-Third of Deaths in LA
In Los Angeles County, the state’s largest, 133 people who had lived in nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities have died from the virus, or about a third of all deaths in the county, health officials said Wednesday.
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would train and deploy 600 nurses to “support compliance with COVID-19 guidance” at the state’s nearly 8,700 skilled nursing and residential care facilities. Visits to the facilities already have been sharply restricted.
“Protecting California’s most vulnerable residents and the employees is a top priority — not only to protect public health but because it’s the right thing to do,” Newsom said. “Older Californians and those who are medically fragile are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19.”