County reports new coronavirus deaths at nursing homes for first time in 3 weeks

For the first time in three weeks, San Diego County reported new coronavirus deaths among residents and health care workers at skilled nursing facilities.

As of Wednesday, there have been 173 deaths from COVID-19 among nursing home staff and residents combined, up from 168 reported during the last two weeks. San Diego County reported 1,139 cases of novel coronavirus among nursing home residents and 729 cases among health care workers Wednesday, up from 1,103 and 717 last week.

One new outbreak in skilled nursing homes was reported by the county this week, bringing the total to 84 over the course of the pandemic. There are 20 nursing home outbreaks that are still deemed active, down from the 21 active ones reported last week.

Unlike community outbreaks that are defined as three or more linked cases from separate households, outbreaks in nursing homes only need one case among either residents or health care workers. An outbreak is considered inactive once no one at the facility has tested positive for novel coronavirus for at least two weeks.

According to the California Department of Public health database, 53 of the county’s 86 skilled nursing facilities have been approved to resume indoor visitations.

Only five facilities in the county haven’t recorded a single case among either residents or health care workers, according to the state’s database. They are Amaya Springs Health Care Center in Spring Valley, Arroyo Vista Nursing Center in San Diego, Monte Vista Lodge in Lemon Grove, Somerset Subacute and Care in El Cajon, and Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido.

Those looking for COVID-19 statistics or visitation information at a specific skilled nursing facility can view the online version of this story at http://bit.ly/SNFOct7 to search the full dataset.

Nursing home administrators were reminded Monday of their obligation to help residents vote during the upcoming election in an all-facilities letter issued by the state.

According to the letter, nursing home staff should alert residents of the upcoming election timeline, help them to register by the Oct. 19 deadline, and help to read or fill out election materials with residents as needed. While all California residents will receive mail-in ballots this year as a safety measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any resident who prefers to vote in-person should be assisted in doing so and maintaining social distancing at polling places.

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