By Carmen George, The Fresno Bee, Updated April 29 2020
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A total of 24 residents at a Visalia nursing home have died from COVID-19 as more coronavirus cases surface at other nursing facilities in the central San Joaquin Valley and other facilities aren’t reporting data to the state.
There was one new coronavirus patient death Tuesday at that nursing home, Redwood Springs Healthcare Center, and one coronavirus patient death at Lindsay Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, Tulare County health officials said Tuesday.
A third individual, a community member unrelated to skilled nursing facilities, also died in Tulare County on Tuesday, officials said, bringing that county’s COVID-19 death total up to 35.TAKE A BREAK 00:30 / 00:30MIA’s Admirals Club is closed. American Airlinesworkers have turned it into mask factory
Coronavirus cases increased substantially at Redwood Springs and Lindsay Gardens, both in Tulare County, between Monday and Tuesday.
Sixty-one staff members at Redwoods Springs have tested positive for COVID-19 – an increase of 41 from Monday, when health officials said 14 staff members there had coronavirus.
Redwood Springs – among the first nursing homes in the state to announce a coronavirus outbreak – still had 114 residents with coronavirus on Tuesday, and others infected (such as visiting family members) increased from six to eight.
Health officials reported 14 more patients at Lindsay Gardens with coronavirus on Tuesday – a total of 52. One more staff member there also tested positive for COVID-19, bringing that total up to 15. Others infected there (such as visiting family) grew from six to eight.
NEW INFORMATION FROM FRESNO NURSING HOMES
In Fresno on Tuesday, Dycora Transitional Health & Living – Manchester, near Shields Avenue and First Street, reported 12 patients there with coronavirus.
Coronavirus was confirmed there the previous day – among five new nursing homes in the central San Joaquin Valley to disclose COVID-19 at their facilities on Monday.
The Dycora facility in downtown Fresno, which reported two patients with coronavirus on Monday, said on Tuesday that four of its staff members also tested positive for COVID-19. Those staff members have self-quarantined and will not return to work until cleared by the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
Health officials said Tuesday afternoon that they confirmed 16 coronavirus cases between the two Dycora facilities, but did not provide a breakdown for those cases.
In response to a question about whether there have been any COVID-19 deaths at the downtown Fresno Dycora facility, a Dycora administrator there said this: “To protect our patient’s privacy, and adhere to state and federal regulations, we are not able to comment on specific individuals. Currently patients that have tested positive are receiving services at the appropriate level of care.”
At the Dycora – Manchester facility, a supervisor there said, “We are very fortunate to not have any deaths and all residents in the facility are asymptomatic and doing well.”
Nursing home residents in California make up nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the state, new public health data shows, making skilled nursing and assisted living facilities the deadliest hotspots in the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dycora facility downtown, previously named Golden Living, next to Community Regional Medical Center, said its facility was first notified Friday by its acute care hospital that a patient had tested positive for coronavirus after being discharged from its care center.
“We initiated contact tracing, to determine who could potentially develop COVID-19 at some point due to the exposure,” Dycora officials said. “We tested the former resident’s roommate in our care center, who also tested positive.”
The downtown Dycora facility has 192 patients and 236 employees.
On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson with the Fresno County Department of Public Health said: “Surveillance and symptomatic testing in Skilled Nursing Facility populations is ongoing due to the higher risks in these patients. The FCDPH is actively engaged with state and local agencies to ensure safety protocols are being followed, and our Communicable Disease Investigation Program is actively investigating any cases of COVID-19 in congregate living situations. Additional tests are pending and FCDPH cannot provide additional details while these cases are being investigated.”
FRESNO NURSING HOMES NOT REPORTING DATA TO STATE
A state list of skilled nursing home facilities with COVID-19, last updated Monday, shows the Dycora Manchester facility’s numbers as not available, which “indicates a facility did not report its data” – although Dycora shared case numbers with The Bee.
Fresno County is among the worst in the state for not reporting its nursing home data to the state. As of Tuesday, eight Fresno County nursing homes in the state list have data listed as not available.
Only two other California counties have more nursing homes listing data not available to the state: Los Angeles and San Diego.
The state lists eight Fresno County facilities as “N/A” – just one less than San Diego County, which has dozens more nursing homes and a population of over 3 million people, more than triple the population of Fresno County.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fresno County public health officials said they are working with local skilled nursing facilities to report COVID-19 cases, and that this information is updated regularly by the California Department of Public Health and is “not intended to suggest neglect or wrongdoing on the part of the facility.”
In the Valley, the state list of skilled nursing facilities also showed data as not available at one nursing home in Madera County and two in Tulare County.
COVID-19 CASES AT NURSING HOMES IN TULARE, FRESNO COUNTIES
There are now three nursing homes in Fresno County reporting COVID-19 cases.
The latest reported: The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno (one patient and one health care worker), Dycora Transitional Health & Living – Fresno in downtown Fresno (two patients, four health care workers), Dycora – Manchester (12 patients).
There are four nursing homes in Tulare County with coronavirus.
In addition to Redwood Springs and Lindsay Gardens, on Monday Linwood Meadows Care Center in Visalia, owned by the same company as Redwood Springs, reported an outbreak, with 10 patients there testing positive for coronavirus.
According to the state’s list, Twin Oaks Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Tulare County also has less than 11 health care workers with COVID-19. The facility has not responded to media requests for comment.
Redwood Springs and Lindsay Gardens were both receiving help from emergency Cal-MAT health care teams and other outside staff. Tulare County health officials said the county and state are working with its nursing facilities to expand COVID-19 testing and ensure proper use of personal protective equipment.
A Lindsay Gardens spokesman said a number of its COVID-19 patients are in recovery and have not shown symptoms for more than seven days, and that most with coronavirus at the facility are showing no to moderate symptoms.
Spokespeople for The Terraces and Dycora facilities also provided information about precautionary measures to protect residents and staff. Those include restricting non-essential visitors from entering, screening for temperature and symptoms, closing communal dining, canceling some activities, increasing cleanings, and using personal protective equipment. (Lindsay Gardens also mentioned some of these measures in a statement, as part of enhanced “infection control protocols.”)
The Dycora facility downtown said it’s coordinating with local and state health officials to test all of its patients for COVID-19.