Santa Clara County details assisted-living coronavirus cases

Santa Clara County is now reporting the number of staff and residents with coronavirus cases at each care home for the aged, identifying 18 where at least one patient is sick and 26 where at least one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease that has been most lethal to the elderly.

All told Santa Clara County, a hot spot for infections since the pandemic began sweeping the world in January, has had 424 confirmed cases, 59 hospitalizations and 48 deaths at assisted living, skilled nursing, independent living and board and care facilities.

While public health officials in some areas, notably Los Angeles County, have long identified such facilities with outbreaks, Santa Clara County and others in the Bay Area have resisted reporting details, citing privacy concerns, though many of the facilities have disclosed or confirmed cases themselves.

The new details show the most cases at the Canyon Springs Post-Acute facility, with 92 residents and 42 staff reported to be have been confirmed ill with COVID-19. The case counts are cumulative.

Also hard-hit were the Valley House Rehabilitation Skilled Nursing Center with 49 residents and 32 staff reported to have become ill. Cedar Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation had 45 residents and 20 staff become ill, and Mount Pleasant Nursing Center had 44 residents and 18 staff become ill.

Facilities with 10 or fewer cases were listed only as having fewer than 11, with no specific numbers.

Some places, like Amberwood Gardens and Lytton Gardens, had fewer than 11 residents listed ill and no sick staff members.

Others, like Pacific Hills Manor, Palo Alto Commons and Sunnyside Gardens, had fewer than 11 staff become sick, but no residents confirmed ill.

Canyon Springs Post Acute Care in San Jose first notified patients’ families the last week of March that two patients and an employee had become infected with the virus. The 198-bed facility has since reported five infected patients have died.

As of last week, Santa Clara County was reporting cases of COVID-19 across seven assisted living facilities, but did not specify the number of infected people for each facility.

And while Santa Clara County as of last week reported the total number of people who had died in nursing homes in the county, its health department has so far refused to name the facilities where the deaths occurred, or the number of deaths at each.

One local man whose mother-in-law is in a facility with fewer than 20 residents receiving care said the county should provide more detail, such as exact numbers less than 11, noting that many long-term care facilities are small and 10 infections could account for half the residents.

“It would be much better to be able to look up the all COVID-19 case counts for any long term care facility,” he said, “especially for families separated by quarantine.”

Other Bay Area counties have refused to update their cases for nursing homes and assisted living facilities since the state began releasing limited information last month, leaving the public with an incomplete picture of serious outbreaks, cobbled together by county and state information and reporting by news agencies.

The California Department of Public Health reported that as of Monday, 1,473 residents and workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 187 of them have died statewide at assisted-living facilities, which house elderly people needing assistance with things like eating, bathing, dressing, and medication management. The figures were not broken out for residents and staff for those facilities.

The state health department reported as of Monday a cumulative 4,909 residents and 3,091 employees infected statewide at skilled nursing facilities, which treat elderly people needing round-the-clock nursing care or therapy, typically with a goal of returning them to their homes or to assisted living. At those facilities, a total of 748 residents and 15 employees who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

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