Health officials worry as coronavirus cases begin to spike at SoCal nursing homes

Nearly 60 people, including 51 residents, tested positive for COVID-19 at a nursing home in Yucaipa. The outbreak has resulted in two deaths and health officials warn all residents contracting the virus at the facility is inevitable.

San Bernardino County health officials Tuesday announced the outbreak occurred at Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation. They also said six staff members at the 99-bed facility tested positive for the virus.

RELATED: 2 senior citizens dead at Yucaipa nursing home while 51 residents, 6 staff members test positive for COVID-19

The county health commissioner also warned COVID-19 cases for the community of mostly retired residents will continue to rise.

COVID-19 cases in San Bernardino County have steadily increased. The county recently began offering drive-thru testing centers. 

RELATED: San Bernardino County offering drive-thru coronavirus testing

The virus has struck other nursing homes in Southland.

Alameda Care Center in Burbank has also seen an outbreak as ten employees and seven residents tested positive for the virus. At the Burbank facility, there have been two deaths as a result of the outbreak.

Nearly two weeks ago, there were three confirmed coronavirus cases at an assisted living facility in Redondo Beach.

RELATED: COVID-19 strikes South Bay assisted living facility; 3 test positive, 7 await results

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19 given the “congregate nature” of the facilities and the fact that many residents have chronic medical conditions.

Eight residents of a New Jersey nursing home have died and all 94 residents of another New Jersey home were moved to another facility after two dozen tested positive for the coronavirus. In Washington state, some 35 residents of a single home near Seattle have died.

RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.

U.S. Rep. Paul Cook, who represents the area that includes Yucaipa, said he and others had told themselves: “‘God almighty, I hope that it never breaks out in a convalescent home,’ and this is what has happened.”

“It could be serious today and even worse tomorrow if we don’t do our jobs,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that this does not spread.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said actions by California and Washington state to close schools, encourage people to work from home and only go out for essential needs had given her hope the virus could be controlled through social distancing measures.

Birx spoke Tuesday as grim new projections of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths nationwide were announced and President Donald Trump called on Americans to heed his safety guidelines, which are weaker than those in place in California and several other states.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.