27 test positive for coronavirus at Orinda skilled nursing facility, county health officials say

ORINDA, Calif. (KGO) -- More than two dozen people at a skilled nursing home in Orinda have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, health officials announced Friday afternoon.

At least 27 people, including three staff members, are infected with the virus.

Five people with the virus are hospitalized, according to the county health department.

The Orinda Care Center, located on Alterinda Road, has 47 beds -- but the facility is not occupied to capacity, according to Chris Farnitano, health officer in Contra Costa County.

Health officials were first called out to the facility on Tuesday.

Farnitano said nearly half the patients with COVID-19 are over the age of 80.

"COVID-19 is a disease with no proven medication or vaccine," he said.

During a press conference Friday, Farnitano emphasized the importance of hand washing and social distancing during the pandemic.

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He said isolation is also one of the best defenses against the virus.

In light of the diagnoses, staff members are required to wear masks at all times the facility.

Health officials are also making the "strong recommendation" that Contra Costa County residents wear masks or cloth over their faces.

Farnitano said this outbreak is something they've been preparing for.

"This is a very vulnerable population," he said.

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Because of the vulnerabilities, the county has been taking steps to reduce the risk of an outbreak like this.

Because of the outbreak, visitors are not allowed at the facility except in "end of life" situations, Farnitano said.

The health officer said a total of 14 residents at the Orinda Care Center have tested negative for the virus.

The remaining residents have been tested and are awaiting results.

Due to the pandemic, the skilled nursing home is not allowing group meals and group social gatherings.

That precaution has been ongoing for several weeks, Farnitano said.

Patients at a skilled nursing home are normally in the facility because their families can no longer provide the level of care they need, the health officer said.

Farnitano emphasized the importance of keeping patients, including those who are healthy, inside the facility despite the outbreak -- to limit the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

No deaths have been reported at the facility, health officials said Friday.

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