Employee claims 8 COVID-19 cases at Central California nursing home could have been avoided

VISALIA, Calif. -- Eight people out of a Visalia Healthcare facility are some of the latest to test positive for COVID-19.

Redwood Springs Healthcare Center officials along with Public Health workers say six patients and two healthcare professionals within the facility have the coronavirus.

"They're separated from the rest of the people who do not have COVID-19, says Tammie Weyker-Adkins with Tulare Co. Public Health. "They are being assisted by dedicated workers that are not treating other patients at the facility."

Public health officials say the positive patients, many who are over the age of 65, are isolated, while the others who have yet to show symptoms are being monitored.

An employee who asked to remain anonymous claims the spread started with a worker who tested positive.

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"It was a nurse and employee," they said. "They came in contact with it from outside. They didn't know they were contagious and spread it around."

The employee also claims that none of the employees were notified about the outbreak, and that they weren't given crucial protective gear until Wednesday.

"We weren't provided any masks," they said. "Bleach wipes were hard to come by. It wasn't considered essential for our facility, for our staff."

An administrator for the Redwood Spring facility tells us two healthcare employees started showing symptoms on Sunday and were taken to a local hospital to be tested.

They say by Monday morning, all staff members were notified of actions taken and "that no staff member or healthcare worker has ever been without full protection when working in the COVID isolation ward. Each valued team member received the appropriate PPE, including gloves, gowns, and masks"

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The facility's website states essential medical employees and residents are also being screened daily while visitation has stopped.

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