State COVID Strike Teams at Work as 95 County Cases, 3 More Deaths Reported

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Even as state infectious disease experts fanned out across Sonoma County’s senior care centers on Tuesday and Wednesday, the grim toll of the coronavirus continued to be felt across the region.  The county reported 95 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday and 3 additional deaths, bring the number of fatalities to 42.

According to the county, all but five of those deaths were attributed to seniors living in the county’s skilled, acute and residential care facilities.  Of the newly reported deaths, 2 involved residents of skilled nursing centers, and one was a person living in a residential care center.

According to county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase, there have been 448 coronavirus cases in the county’s senior care centers to date, including 325 in skilled and acute care facilities, and 123 in residential facilities.  Of the 325 cases detected in skilled centers, 131 were staff, and 194 were residents.

Mase told reporters Wednesday that state infectious disease teams were already at work with management of the county’s most severely impacted senior care centers, examining health and safety protocols and advising staff on additional procedures that may be necessary.

The state teams are also considering plans to move infected patients to one central facility for observation, isolation and treatment.  One of the challenges care centers locally and nationwide have faced is the problem of isolation.  Since most patients of nursing centers need special care beyond COVID-19, locating and staffing an alternate isolation site for this group is a difficult and complicated challenge.

Mase says the county will be working with state teams on the ground to determine if one of the already existing skilled nursing centers could be set up as an isolation facility for COVID-19 positive patients.

In the past two days a computer issue has delayed state reporting of positive coronavirus cases to counties for followup and contact tracing.

Because of this, Mase advised that anyone who has received a positive test result in the past few days has the responsibility to self-isolate and also to contact those who they may have exposed for followup testing and quarantining.

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