Coronavirus outbreak at California nursing home infects more than 2 dozen

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An outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a nursing home in Riverside, Calif., has sickened more than two dozen people, according to the county health department.

At least 30 patients and some staff members of the Extended Care Hospital of Riverside have tested positive for COVID-19, making it yet another long term care facility in the country to be ravaged by the virus. Results are pending for other residents of the 90-plus bed facility, according to Riverside County Public Health.

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The facility has since been closed to new patients, the staff is not allowed to work at other facilities, and sick patients are isolated.

“All patients are being closely monitored,” officials said in a news release. “Staff members are using personal protective equipment and those who test positive will be removed from work until cleared.”

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, said he expects to see similar outbreaks throughout the community.

“This is a vulnerable population and we’ll take all the steps necessary to protect them. But these steps can only work effectively if people stay home, stay apart, and cover up their faces in public to reduce overall transmission,” said Kaiser.

Outbreaks of viral diseases are not uncommon in nursing homes, as the patients there are often older, have underlying health issues and live in close quarters — factors that make these populations particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases.

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“This is a very serious situation and shows why we must all take serious steps to change our behavior because these steps are intended to protect our most vulnerable. They need and deserve our protection and we must all do our part,” Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel said in a statement.

The Life Care Center in Kirkland made national headlines when it was found to be the epicenter of an outbreak in Washington State beginning in February. Of the 60 deaths reported in King County on March 19, at least 35 were associated with the nursing home.

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Last week, officials in Maryland announced that at least five residents of a nursing home there died recently due to the novel coronavirus, with the state’s governor suggesting that a staff member who did not have symptoms may have unknowingly exposed the facility to COVID-19.

And in Tennessee, an outbreak of the coronavirus at one nursing home left two dead and more than 100 others hospitalized – just a week after the state banned most visitors at extended-care facilities.

Fox News’s Alexandria Hein and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.