Coronavirus: Governor Newsom deploying 600 nurses to help with California nursing home outbreaks

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As California battles the novel coronavirus pandemic, a number of skilled nursing facilities are waging their own battles against the spread.

Friday Governor Newsom announced the state has trained and is deploying 600 nurses to help.

RELATED: Another Bay Area nursing home COVID-19 outbreak leads to questions about Gov. Newsom's plan

The numbers at Gateway Care and Rehab Center in Hayward are staggering. Forty-one residents and 25 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been nine deaths according to Alameda County health officials.

Family members are worried for their loved ones.

"I didn't know that people had been dying here. Last I heard there was one patient who tested positive," said Barbara Rios.

Health officials say the spread at these types of facilities is to be expected because of the congregant setting.

"This is a very vulnerable population. They have a lot of chronic medical conditions," said Dr. Erica Pan, Interim Alameda County Health Officer.

RELATED: 7 dead, 65 total COVID-19 cases at Gateway Care & Rehab Center in Hayward

Dr. Pan says the county is recommending universal masking in all nursing facilities.

The county is also keeping close tabs on East Bay Post-Acute Health Care Center in Castro Valley, where 21 staff members and 15 residents have tested positive. There have been 0 deaths.

Dr. Pan says because staffing in the county is an issue, if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, but is asymptomatic, that staff member might still care for a resident who has also tested positive.

"This is really only if all other staffing options are exhausted," said Dr. Pan.

Meantime in the South Bay --

"With widespread transmission across the county we expect to see a large number of skilled nursing facilities have identified cases or suspected cases," said Dr. Sarah Rudman, Assistant Public Health Officer for Santa Clara County.

RELATED: I-Team digs into records of Orinda nursing home, scene of COVID-19 outbreak

Dr. Rudman says Santa Clara County has had 164 cases at skilled nursing home facilities, with 50 staff members infected and 7 resident deaths.

She says staff there are working longer shifts.

In the North Bay, Drake Terrace in San Rafael has confirmed a resident died possibly due to complications from COVID-19. A statement released by the facility says the resident was on hospice and had several underlying medical conditions. There are six active cases at the facility - four memory care residents and two associates. One resident has fully recovered from the virus.

While family members are understandably very concerned about their loved ones, health officials are asking those family members to leave their relatives in these skilled nursing facilities where they can get the care they need.

Governor Newsom says there are 1,224 skilled nursing facilities in the state of California. Of those, the state is monitoring 191 facilities for patients and staff with the infection. That represents 1,266 individuals.

There are an additional 7,461 facilities that the state also licenses through the Department of Social Services. Of those the state is monitoring 94 facilities with 370 individual patients and staff infected.

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