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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Central Coast senior care facilities report COVID-19 outbreaks

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 9:35 AM

Two senior living facilities on the Central Coast are reporting internal COVID-19 outbreaks, one of which has led to at least five related deaths so far.

At Vista Rosa Living, an assisted living facility for seniors in San Luis Obispo, visitations from outsiders have been significantly limited since late December 2019 due to early COVID-19 concerns, according to Zoli Soo, an administrator with Rose Care Group. The organization runs a number of assisted living facilities in SLO County.

click to enlarge OUTBREAK Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Country Oaks Care Center restricted visits and set up a bench outside its lobby windows so family members could see their relatives while talking with them on the phone. But a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the nursing facility has led to five deaths so far. - PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNTRY OAKS CARE FACILITY
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNTRY OAKS CARE FACILITY
  • OUTBREAK Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Country Oaks Care Center restricted visits and set up a bench outside its lobby windows so family members could see their relatives while talking with them on the phone. But a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the nursing facility has led to five deaths so far.
But on June 13, a Vista Rosa resident who has long suffered respiratory issues complained that she was struggling to breathe. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and tested for COVID-19. The next day, she informed staff that her test was positive, Soo told New Times. On Monday, June 14, a Vista Rosa caregiver who had been out sick for a few days called to inform staff that she too had tested positive.

Soo said the SLO County Public Health Department immediately went to Vista Rosa and tested all residents and employees—about 45 people total. As of June 16, he said three residents and four caregivers had tested positive for coronavirus.

“As of right now, no one is really feeling any symptoms except for the one resident who went to the hospital,” Soo told New Times, adding that the resident in question was stable and doing well as of June 16. “So we’re hoping somehow that it’s stayed with these individuals and that it’s going to be more asymptomatic than not.”

The outbreak aligns with a recent uptick in SLO County’s coronavirus cases. On June 16, the SLO County Public Health Department reported that 23 additional cases of COVID-19 had accumulated over the weekend, which it attributed mostly to close contact and community spread related to the county’s phased reopening.

Soo said that it’s still unclear how and where the first coronavirus case in Vista Rosa was contracted. Cleanliness has been a top priority for months while family and even home health service visitations have been limited. When COVID-19 initially hit, Rose Care Group stopped rotating most of its staff through its various facilities. Only a few staff who worked at Vista Rosa also worked at Rose Care’s facilities in Arroyo Grande, and those were in the clear as of June 16.

Now, Soo said Vista Rosa is working with SLO County Public Health to gather more information and limit the spread of the virus. All positive residents and staff are self-isolated, and staff members who are still vulnerable are all hoping to help their residents fight COVID-19.



“I guess that’s been one thing that’s beautiful to come out of this, is everyone coming together,” Soo said. “Really everyone is on board and ready to help and that’s been nice to see.”

Country Oaks Care Center, a 57-bed nursing home in Santa Maria, is grappling with an even more severe outbreak. In a statement released on June 16, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said that 25 residents and 14 staff members at Country Oaks had tested positive for COVID-19.

The initial positive cases were reported on May 31. While the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said its been working closely with the facility on mitigation, five related deaths have been reported so far. ∆

—Kasey Bubnash
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