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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Santa Barbara County nursing facilities continue to battle COVID-19 outbreaks

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Five skilled nursing facilities in Santa Barbara County are currently under investigation for COVID-19 outbreaks, though only one of the facilities is experiencing an outbreak among residents as of Oct. 14. The others have just reported positive cases among their health care workers, according to Santa Barbara County’s reporting page.

Santa Maria Post Acute currently has the most severe skilled nursing facility outbreak in the county with 41 positive residents and 23 positive health care workers.

click to enlarge CONGREGATE SETTINGS Country Oaks Care Center had a severe COVID-19 outbreak in July, during which 11 residents died. Now, Santa Maria Post Acute is suffering from an outbreak with more than 60 residents and staff infected so far. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • CONGREGATE SETTINGS Country Oaks Care Center had a severe COVID-19 outbreak in July, during which 11 residents died. Now, Santa Maria Post Acute is suffering from an outbreak with more than 60 residents and staff infected so far.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reports that less than 11 residents have died at the facility. The county only reports the exact number of infections or deaths at skilled nursing facilities once that number exceeds 10.

At a virtual press conference on Friday, Oct. 9, Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported that, “one resident had to be hospitalized briefly, and unfortunately, one resident died.”

Santa Maria Post Acute did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

Previously, Country Oaks Care Facility in Santa Maria experienced a large outbreak that was cleared in July, during which 11 residents died. Over the course of the pandemic, 29 residents have been infected at the facility. Right now, the facility is under investigation for positive cases among staff, but no residents are reported positive at this time.

Ansorg said that, while the county has experienced a downward trend in its case and testing positivity rates since late September, a combination of the Santa Maria Post Acute outbreak and “reduced vigilance with mask wearing and social distancing” contributed to a recent slight uptick or leveling out in county metrics.

“Everybody, please understand that opening up businesses does not mean that mask wearing and social distancing has become unnecessary or optional,” Ansorg said. “In fact, quite the opposite is necessary. The more people are out and about, the more important these measures actually are.”



Ansorg said the Santa Maria Post Acute outbreak began about two weeks ago, and that the county’s “Public Health Medical Operations and Disease Control teams are collaborating with the facility to manage this outbreak, improve infection control protocols, and, together with the state agencies, help to secure appropriate staffing needs.”

Alto Lucero Transitional Care (Santa Barbara), Marian Extended Care (Santa Maria), and Valle Verde Health Facility (Santa Barbara) have also reported positive COVID-19 cases among their health care workers, but none among residents. The county reports that these facilities all have less than 11 positive cases among health care workers with no deaths.

Buena Vista Care Center in Santa Barbara is the skilled nursing facility most recently cleared by the Public Health Department after overcoming an outbreak. The facility was cleared on Oct. 5. Other facilities like the Lompoc Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center and the Samarkand Skilled Nursing Facility (Santa Barbara) were cleared of COVID-19 outbreaks in mid- to late-September. Δ

—Malea Martin
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