Riverside Press Enterprise
A second nursing home facility in San Bernardino County is seeing a novel coronavirus outbreak.
Last week, eight residents and seven employees at the Reche Canyon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Colton tested positive for COVID-19. One resident died, county officials said Monday, April 6.
The outbreak follows one at Cedar Mountain Post-Acute Rehabilitation in Yucaipa, where 75 residents and employees have tested positive. Five residents there have died, according to the county.
San Bernardino County has created a special task force and issued new orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the 171 state licensed nursing facilities across the county.
The task force is comprised of public health and other county officials as well as officials from the state Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency management and hospitals, a county news release states.
“The task force will proactively identify, map, and assess readiness for COVID-19 at nursing facilities throughout the county with the intent of identifying strategic sites that may act as COVID-19-positive sites to further mitigate spread among our most-vulnerable residents,” County Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo said in a statement.
Governor Gavin Newsom identified San Bernardino County as one of four nursing home “hot spots” in the state during a Saturday, April 4, news conference.
In response to the Reche Canyon outbreak, county public health officials, with the help from state public health officials, launched an “aggressive testing campaign,” the news release said.
This week, the public health department will give testing supplies and staff assistance to other facilities in the county affiliated with Cedar Mountain to help test symptomatic residents and staff, the county said.
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The county is also helping Yucaipa with its plans to hold a community testing event in the city this week.
Also on Monday, the county’s Acting Public Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson ordered nursing facilities to “employ any means necessary” to stop using staff members who also work at other facilities. The order also requires nursing home staff to wear protective gear to prevent spreading the disease to residents and monitor their temperatures. The order forbids them from going into facilities if they have symptoms of any contagious illness.
“Without appropriate precautions and procedures, nursing homes can create a tragically ideal environment for the spread of viruses among those who are most susceptible to symptoms and complications,” Gustafson said in a statement.