The state is halting plans to temporarily turn a skilled nursing facility in Wilmington into a COVID-19 recovery building after test results revealed that almost half of the residents slated to leave tested positive for the illness.
The nursing home last week disclosed to the public that two of its residents -- both women - had died.
After complaints about a lack of transparency regarding coronavirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the state Department of Health is issuing a clear directive on how facilities must notify staff, residents and their families about COVID-19 cases. Residents were going to be moved to other facilities but had to test negative before being transferred.
All staff must use appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE. A California directive that could open the way for some patients sickened with COVID-19 to be sent from overburdened hospitals to nursing homes is being criticized by industry officials who fear vulnerable, elderly residents would be placed at risk.
These recommendations will help long-term care facilities as they consider how to best prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.
The coronavirus crisis "requires our whole health care delivery system to work together seamlessly for the health and safety of all Californians", the agency said. An outbreak at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, has been blamed for more than 30 deaths.
70 residents are still waiting for test results. Staff members at the 142-bed facility will also be tested, according to the statement.
Among those who contacted NJ Advance Media about communication problems with nursing homes was Rita Poggi, who only learned after her mother's death Tuesday that another resident had been taken to the hospital 10 days earlier and later died of the coronavirus.
Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick addresses reporters at a recent news conference.
"We continue to also focus with acuity on what's happening in our skilled nursing facilities, what's happening with our senior centers and our adult care facilities throughout the state", he said.
Jan Emerson-Shea of the California Hospital Association said there is a need to get patients out of the hospital who no longer need a high level of care. The state has not said how many coronavirus cases are in long-term care facilities, but Dolan estimates it is around 350.