Dozens infected as new COVID-19 outbreaks reported at multiple nursing homes countywide
Santa Cruz County’s skilled nursing facilities have had between a 50% and 100% increase in COVID-19 cases among residents in the last seven days, with some nursing homes and assisted living facilities dealing with outbreaks that have infected dozens.
Data from the California Department of Public Health revealed sizable coronavirus outbreaks at two facilities: Santa Cruz Post Acute rehab in Santa Cruz and Pacific Coast Manor in Capitola. This comes on top of previously known outbreaks at Maple House II assistant living facility in Live Oak and the Watsonville Post-Acute Center.
In all, the two new outbreaks resulted in a total of 88 cases. That amounts to nearly 10% of the 957 COVID-19 active cases the county had reported as of Thursday morning.
The Santa Cruz Post Acute rehab facility and nursing home had 59 active COVID-19 cases in residents. Since the start of the pandemic, 62 of the center’s patients and 26 staff members have tested positive for the virus, the state data reveals. At least one resident has died of COVID-19, but state data does not specify how many deaths have occurred unless it is more than 11.
Pacific Coast Manor had 29 active cases of COVID-19 among residents, the same data showed. That’s out of 33 total cases among residents, according to state tallies. Pacific Coast Manor has not reported any resident deaths.
Watsonville Post Acute Center and Maple House II, sites of previous outbreaks, are currently COVID-free, as are the other residential care settings in the county. But as COVID-19 cases rise countywide, they are all bracing themselves for potential problems.
Westwind Memory Care in Santa Cruz has designated a wing of its facility as a quarantine zone for any residents who do get sick, even though they don’t currently have any cases.
“We don’t have any infections,” said Ricardo de la Cruz, Westwind’s community relations director. "[But] we are not naive. It could happen.”
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The infections reflect the toll COVID-19 has had on congregate care settings like nursing homes, where highly vulnerable people live in close quarters, and the resurgence of the pandemic countywide and statewide.
A resident of the Maple House II assistant living facility died of COVID-19 complications on Nov. 14, Santa Cruz County health officials said this week. The woman, who county officials would not name but said was in her mid-90s, fell ill during the outbreak and became the county’s 28th coronavirus-related death this year.
This month, the family of David Wickham, 94, filed a lawsuit against Watsonville Post-Acute Center alleging wrongful death and elder abuse. Wickham, who had dementia, died on Oct. 20 from COVID-19 complications.
Lookout reached out to Pacific Coast Manor, Santa Cruz Post Acute and The Maple House II for comment. Pacific Coast Manor confirmed that they are experiencing infections.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.