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Health officials reported 10 new deaths from COVID-19 in Tulare County on Friday — the region’s largest single-day jump since the pandemic began.

The county’s death toll has risen to 64, the highest in the central San Joaquin Valley.

“The majority of today’s reported deaths are attributed to the various outbreaks occurring at our local nursing homes throughout the County,” said Carrie Monteiro, public information officer for Tulare County’s health department.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones, the family and friends who are hurting with the passing on these 10 individuals. We give our sincerest condolences to them all.”

At least three large nursing homes located in Visalia, Lindsay and Porterville are battling COVID-19 infections among residents and workers.

Infections at Food Facilities, Target Store

Outbreaks of the virus have also been reported at food processing plants in the county, including Ruiz Foods facilities in the cities of Dinuba and Tulare. An employee at Svenhard’s Bakery recently tested positive, and the company said this week it is testing at least 30 other employees for infection, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.

On Thursday, ABC30 reported two employees at a Target store in Visalia tested positive for COVID-19 and are on leave under quarantine.

Also on Thursday, an employee at the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency was confirmed as having tested positive after experiencing symptoms while at work at the department’s Dinuba office.

“It is not unexpected to have employees become ill as the novel coronavirus continues spreading throughout the community,” the health department said in a statement. “The location is being closed for cleaning and is also notifying all members of the county workforce who may have had contact with the affected employee.”

The county has reported 1,338 confirmed coronavirus cases to date and its online dashboard shows 1,030 individuals are under quarantine. Officials report 376 people have recovered from the illness.

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