Highly rated nurs­ing home hit hard by virus

Enterprise-Record (Chico) - - NEWS -

SAN RAFAEL » A North­ern Cal­i­for­nia nurs­ing home hit hard by a deadly coro­n­avirus out­break is a highly rated fa­cil­ity. But even with a good track record, it wasn’t pre­pared to com­bat the coro­n­avirus when it ar­rived.

At least 17 peo­ple died and dozens of staff mem­bers got in­fected af­ter a house­keep­ing em­ployee tested pos­i­tive April 2 and was the first con­firmed to have the virus at Stoll­wood Con­va­les­cent Hos­pi­tal, a non­profit nurs­ing home in Wood­land that re­ceived high marks from in­spec­tors and a na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion bureau, the Sacra­mento Bee re­ported Satur­day.

It is the dead­li­est nurs­ing home out­break in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and among the worst COVID-19 clus­ters in the state.

“We put him there think­ing he would be safe,” said Donna Scully, whose 71-year-old fa­ther was the fifth per­son at the fa­cil­ity to have died from COVID-19 com­pli­ca­tions. “And he wasn’t.”

In­ter­views and emails re­viewed by the news­pa­per re­veal nurs­ing home and county health of­fi­cials strug­gled be­hind the scenes to curb the virus. The doc­u­ments de­tail a fran­tic, some­times slap­dash ef­fort to ramp up test­ing at the nurs­ing home and roll out ever-chang­ing rules from Cal­i­for­nia’s health depart­ment.

For most peo­ple, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symp­toms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — es­pe­cially older adults and peo­ple with ex­ist­ing health prob­lems — it can cause more se­vere ill­ness, in­clud­ing pneu­mo­nia, and death.

Al­though the out­break at Stoll­wood seems over — no one has died in more than a month — CEO Sean Beloud said he still strug­gles to un­der­stand how the virus found its way into the fa­cil­ity. He said the staff fol­lowed every guide­line that was put forth to pre­vent the spread of the dis­ease.

“This virus will find its way into the fa­cil­i­ties,” he said. “No mat­ter what pre­cau­tions you have.”

In other news re­lated to the coro­n­avirus out­break in Cal­i­for­nia:

— The statewide death toll was ap­proach­ing 7,000. As of Satur­day, the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health re­ported 6,945 deaths. Daily death to­tals have be­gun to in­crease af­ter a month of spik­ing cases and hospi­tal­iza­tions.

— Five peo­ple died and 66 have tested pos­i­tive at a San Rafael skilled nurs­ing fa­cil­ity struck with a coro­n­avirus out­break, the depart­ment said. Marin County’s health of­fi­cer said dur­ing a Fri­day vir­tual town hall that most of the county’s nurs­ing home out­breaks oc­curred be­cause staff mem­bers who aren’t dis­play­ing symp­toms brought the virus into the fa­cil­ity. “Be­cause staff are bring­ing these in­fec­tions in — many are asymp­to­matic — ul­ti­mately the so­lu­tion is for all of us to do our part to limit trans­mis­sion within our lives,” he said.

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