CONCORD – At least 15 people died after COVID-19 infected 75 people at an East Bay skilled nursing facility, according to data released by the state.
The latest report from the state Department of Public Health shows that 14 patients and at least one health worker at San Miguel Villa, a post-acute nursing facility in Concord, died after contracting the virus, which infected 62 residents and 13 workers in the center. . The state’s data portal does not specify the exact number of deaths if they are less than 11, so the number of staff deaths could be between 1 and 10.
A call to the facility was not immediately returned, making it unclear when the deaths occurred. Data reported to the state by the nursing home in the last 24 hours reveals that there are still 45 patients infected with COVID-19
The latest outbreak is yet another example of how the disease has devastated the Bay Area’s most vulnerable elderly population living in congregated settings, such as skilled nursing facilities or assisted living facilities.
According to state data, of 94% of the state’s 1,223 skilled nursing facilities reporting COVID-19 cases this week, there are currently 2,300 patients and 49 healthcare workers with confirmed COVID-19 infections. Cumulatively, there have been at least 12,282 confirmed cases in California and 7,655 cases among skilled nursing facility workers. And 2,299 patients and 89 healthcare workers have died from causes related to the deadly virus.
In non-medical residential care facilities, commonly known as assisted living facilities, there have been at least 2,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients and staff, often providing assistance with feeding, bathing, taking medications, and other activities. At least 398 people in those facilities have died from COVID-19.
In Contra Costa County, Director of Health Services Anna Roth told the Board of Supervisors during their Tuesday meeting that of the 18 COVID-19 deaths that occurred last week, 16 were from long-term care facilities term such as nursing homes. She did not identify the facilities.
Dr. Sara Levin, deputy county health director, told supervisors that a county task force had been established to visit care facilities and help them proactively reinforce infection control protocols and provide support in acquiring masks, gloves and other protective equipment, as well as making sure you have enough staff if the workers get sick. In late May, the county issued a health order to conduct mass testing as the basis for all long-term care facilities and then continue with monthly staff testing.
“Where we have seen much of the spread is when staff in these low-wage jobs have to work in multiple facilities to ensure their financial stability, with no benefits that do not necessarily allow them to be on sick leave,” Levin said. When federal, state and county mandates barred most visitors, he said, “Many residents stayed on the premises, so they were staff members who went out into the community … and brought it in.”
San Miguel Villa de Concord is a 190-bed nursing facility on San Miguel Road, owned and operated by Mark Callaway, Gary Jarvis and Velda Pierce. Pierce and Callaway also have other Contra Costa nursing facilities: the Alhambra Hospital for Convalescents, the Lone Tree Hospital for Convalescents and the Antioch Hospital for Convalescents, according to state records.
Since 2017, the facility has had a total of 106 reported complaints or incidents, and state inspectors found a total of 36 “deficiencies.” Some of those deficiencies included problems with infection control.
In an inspection in April 2019, for example, state inspectors found that several licensed professional nursing staff members had not followed proper handwashing protocols.
Last year, the family of an elderly man who died in San Miguel Villa sued the facility, saying the lack of personnel and training led to the man’s suffering. The facility used drugs to sedate him, the lawsuit alleged.
Staff shortages and lack of adherence to infection control practices have contributed to outbreaks in nursing homes, according to experts.
“We are truly concerned about the lack of supervision in skilled nursing facilities like San Miguel Villa,” said Nicole Howell, executive director of the Ombudsman Services for Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda counties. “This underscores the need for better regulation and supervision, particularly one that specializes in dementia and memory loss.”
The number of outbreaks and deaths in San Miguel Villa is one of the largest in East Bay skilled nursing facilities.
East Bay Post-Acute in Castro Valley has had a total of 16 COVID-19 related patient deaths, and 18 patients at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward have died from the virus.
In San Mateo County, Millbrae Skilled Care has had 14 COVID-related deaths, and more than 100 cumulative infections among patients and 31 cases among healthcare workers there. But state data shows that there are no reported infections in the past 24 hours at that facility.
In Santa Clara County, 12 patients at the Canyon Springs post-acute nursing facility in San Jose died of COVID-19, and at one time 106 patients and staff were infected with the virus. There were no current cases in the past 24 hours, according to state data.