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City Issues Order to Stop COVID-19 Spread in Long Term Health Care Facilities

As of Sunday, all local deaths happened in nursing homes

Published on Monday, April 13, 2020 | 5:00 am
 

The city issued a new order on Sunday aimed at stopping Coronavirus outbreaks and fatalities in the city’s long-term care facilities.

The new order directs licensed skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and assisted living facilities (ALF) to follow certain infection prevention and control measures, including following current guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The measures include limited entry of individuals into facilities, required symptom screening for all employees prior to work, suspension of communal dining and activities, separation of patients with COVID-19 from those who do not have the illness, and use of proper personal protective effective against COVID-19.

On Friday, the health department reported that the seven Pasadena residents that have died from the Coronavirus have all been residents or employees of long-term care facilities, who had underlying health conditions.

“In the absence of a specific immunization or treatment for COVID-19, social distancing is essential to preventing the spread of this disease,” said Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian. “However, this health officer order was issued with the recognition that social distancing, alone, in certain licensed Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities  may not be effective due to the concentration of individuals and the nature of the services provided to them.”

According to Caring.com, a website that provides information and support for people caring for aging family members,

Pasadena has 16 long term care facilities.

Nine of those facilities — Brighton Care Center

Camellia Gardens, Fair Oaks by Regency Park, Garfield Care Center, Golden Cross Healthcare, Huntington Post Acute (Pasadena Meadows), Jasmine Terrace, Rose Garden

St. Vincent’s — have reported more than one resident infected with the virus.

As of Friday the city’s Public Health Department had confirmed 117 cases of the Coronavirus in local residents. All of the cases have not come from SLF or ALF.

Last week, for the first time LA County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer advised people to take their loved ones out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“In general, we do concur with the advice that’s come from both the CDC and the state,” Ferrer said, “that if you have a loved one in a facility and at this point in time you’re able to care for them at home, this would be perfectly appropriate.”

On Saturday, Ferrer reported 28 percent of the people who have died from coronavirus in the county were residents of nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities.

The county has its own health department and county health officials do not usually include Pasadena’s numbers in their daily cumulative count.

LA County health officials are investigating cases at 159 “institutional settings,” such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, shelters, jails and prisons that have had at least one case. Those institutions have had a total of 1,062 cases and 67 deaths, all among residents.

Riverside, San Bernardino and other nearby cities have also experienced outbreaks in facilities housing seniors.

First responders moved 83 patients from the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riverside last week to other healthcare locations in the county after employees failed to show up to work for two days.

Thirty-four residents and 16 employees at the facility have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

The facility still has dozens of pending test results, according to Riverside County officials.

On Friday Gov. Gavin Newsom reported at least 1,266 residents and staff members at more than 1,200 California skilled nursing facilities have confirmed cases, Nearly 400 in residential care facilities also have COVID-19.

Due to skyrocketing numbers, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on April 6 was considering keeping a formal tally of nursing homes with ongoing cases, according to an agency spokesperson.

Although no such tally has been kept, the CDC has twice collected that data.

On March 23, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, (CMS), said 146 long-term care facilities across the country had at least one case of the coronavirus, according to NBC News.

The CMS and the CDC are part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Verma was using numbers provided by the CDC.

A week later, on March 30, the CDC reported a 172 percent when officials told NBC News that more than 400 facilities were battling the illness.

“This is an infectious disease that moves quickly,” said Matt Feaster, the city’s epidemiologist told the LA Times on Friday.  “A small problem can become a big problem.”

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