A sign outside the Dominican Oaks retirement community in Santa Cruz
Residents of Dominican Oaks, a retirement community in Santa Cruz, are isolating after a member of the community tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 9.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
COVID 2021

Residents of Dominican Oaks in isolation after person tests positive for COVID-19

An administrator of the retirement community near Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz told residents this week that “a community member” had tested positive but offered few other details.

Dominican Oaks, a senior living facility near Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, informed its residents that a “community member” had tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 9.

Lookout obtained a letter that was sent to residents Wednesday by the retirement community’s administrator, Deborah Routley. It sought to assure residents that staff members were doing “everything we can to get us all through this.” Routley explained that no other resident or staff member had tested positive or shown symptoms since the first case was identified.

“We want you to know that the person has not been in the building since December 9th and will not return until the isolation period has passed and they are cleared to return to Dominican Oaks,” Routley wrote.

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All staff and residents at Dominican Oaks were still in the process of getting tested for COVID-19, according to the letter. Multiple sources confirmed to Lookout that residents were confined to their apartments as a precautionary measure after the person tested positive.

Routley assured residents that they would let them know if more cases were identified. She also advised them to “change the channel from the news, watch some good seasonal movies or read a good book.”

Elderly people with pre-existing conditions are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and in the past year, the virus has rapidly torn through nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the country. In Santa Cruz County, 76% of all deaths related to COVID-19 are attributed to nursing homes, with the most deaths divided between just three facilities.

Dominican Oaks is a large facility with 206 apartments, of which 142 are licensed for assisted living, a Dominican Oaks spokesperson told Lookout. It is staffed by about 100 employees.

“For the protection of our community, we have been adhering to the guidance and established criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Surgeon General, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the local Department of Public Health,” a Dominican Oaks spokesperson wrote in a statement to Lookout Friday.

“We observe a strict no-visitor policy, with few exceptions. We require everyone in the facility (staff, residents, and certain pre-approved visitor exceptions) to wear a medical- or surgical-grade mask, and follow social distancing guidelines at all times.”