Dozens of patients have tested positive for coronavirus at a nursing home in California, health officials announced Sunday as they warned that “more and more of these outbreaks” will happen in the community.
“We will be seeing more and more of these outbreaks in the community,” Riverside County public health officer Cameron Kaiser said in a statement. “This is a vulnerable population and we’ll take all the steps necessary to protect them. But these steps can only work effectively if people stay home, stay apart, and cover up their faces in public to reduce overall transmission.”
Officials are awaiting test results from other patients and employees from the 90-plus bed facility.
In the wake of the positive test results, officials said the facility is closed to new admissions, sick patients are being isolated, and staff members are not being permitted to work elsewhere.
Trent Evans, general counsel for Extended Care, said there is nothing more important than the safety of residents and the associates who care for them on a daily basis.
“We’re proud of our team’s dedication and professionalism during this global pandemic,” Evans said in a statement, adding that Extended Care has been “proactively on the forefront of the efforts to stave off COVID 19.”
“We have been working closely with one of California’s premier infectious disease specialist physicians to assure that the facility maintains the highest standards in all areas of care while our attention is trained on infection protection. We are confident that the Extended Care Hospital of Riverside will continue to be a top-rated facility going forward,” Evans said in a statement.
Nursing homes have emerged as a focus of heightened concern as coronavirus cases spike amid a global pandemic. Last week, a facility in Yucaipa in San Bernardino County had more than 50 residents infected with coronavirus.
About 1.4 million patients are cared for in nursing homes across the U.S., including severely disabled people.
As the virus has spread, nursing homes around the country have cut off visitors and taken steps to isolate residents from one another by ending common activities and serving meals in individual rooms.
“This is a very serious situation and shows why we must all take serious steps to change our behavior because these steps are intended to protect our most vulnerable,” Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said.
Officials in Riverside County said there are at least 19 COVID-19 related deaths, and the number of cases continues to grow.
“We’re at 800 cases now, which is actually above our projected modeling and our modeling is not good,” Riverside County Health Senior Public Information Specialist Jose Arballo Jr. told FOX11. “So if we’re already ahead the modeling based on things that we’re doing, we’re going to be in bad shape when it comes to the impact on our health system.”
As of Monday, there are 15,158 cases of COVID-19 in California, with at least 350 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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