L.A. County nursing homes hot zones for coronavirus contagion

Well over half of the skilled nursing facilities identified by California officials as having experienced one or more cases of COVID-19 are in Los Angeles County.

Of the 261 facilities on the California Department of Health list, 148 are located in Los Angeles County.

The department's website said the list is a snapshot representing 86% of the state's 1,224 skilled-nursing facilities that have reported data within the last 24 hours.

The worst outbreaks were noted at the following locations:

-- The Brier Oak on Sunset nursing home at 5154 Sunset Blvd. had 80 patients and 62 staff members test positive for the coronavirus;

-- The Country Villa South Convalescent Center at 3515 Overland Ave. reported 15 patients and 58 staff members with the virus;

-- The Brighton Care Center at 1836 N. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena had 20 patients and 43 staff members test positive;

-- Country Villa Pavilion Nursing Center at 5916 Pico Blvd. reported 17 patients and 45 staff members were positive;

-- Garden Crest Rehabilitation Center at 909 Lucile Ave. reported cases among 35 patients and 35 staff members.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health, said Friday that 20 nursing homes or care facilities in the county have had outbreaks of 20 or more people testing positive, and the county has asked for help from state and federal officials to control the virus' spread and ensure affected facilities are fully staffed.

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"We have requested additional assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and the state to help us address the need for increased technical assistance at the large number of sites that have positive cases,'' Ferrer said. "This is particularly technical assistance around being able to implement stringent infection-control processes, and also we've requested additional staffing to support the high rate of staff absences at some of the facilities, which again limits the ability of the staff to provide high-quality care.

"We're also working with a handful of nursing home providers who have offered to help us set up sites that can service COVID-19-positive patients that need to reside at skilled nursing facilities and intermediate-care facilities and are transitioning back, in many cases, from having stayed in a hospital for a few days,'' she said.

The new data drew a quick response from union leaders.  

"The data that was recently shared on the persistent, growing and deadly outbreak of COVID-19 in California nursing homes is a clarion call to action for all of us," said April Verrett, president of Service Employees International Union Local 2015.

"This deadly pandemic is targeting our most vulnerable elders. Those charged with caring for them -- low wage workers, almost always women -- are walking into infection zones without the most basicof protections. Immediate testing of all residents and staff must be required as well as 100% daily reporting on infection rates from all skilled nursing facilities in the state."

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