WILLITS, 7/29/20 — Three additional nursing homes in Mendocino County have reported a positive COVID test, raising concerns about outbreaks at these facilities. In the past couple weeks four residents of the Sherwood Oaks nursing home in Fort Bragg have died from the illness, and across the world nursing homes have been some of the hardest hit by this disease which acutely affects the elderly. The cases of COVID were confirmed by the facilities themselves and the County of Mendocino, and have occurred at Ukiah Post Acute Care Center, Mountain View Assisted Living and Memory Care, and Redwood Creek Care Center in Willits.
Both Ukiah Post Acute and Mountain View Assisted Living explained in brief phone interviews that they’d had one employee each test positive for the virus. Staff at Redwood Creek declined to comment saying that they had been directed by their corporate office not to comment. At the corporate office executive director Jeff Payne said that he could comment on policy, but not on the details of the person who had tested positive, or whether they are resident or worker.
Mendocino Public Health is expected to release more information this afternoon, as this is a developing situation.
At the two Ukiah facilities staff explained that the positive tests had come from an employee.
A licensed vocational nurse at Mountain View explained that one worker tested positive, but that she is not a nurse. She elaborated that every patient and employee will be tested twice beginning this Friday, and the positive test result was reported on July 24. According to the nurse this employee apparently did not have direct contact with the residents. Previously employees had been tested monthly according to pandemic protocols. Since this positive test the residents of the facility have been placed on certain restrictions. Visitors are no longer allowed, and communal dining has been ended, with meals served in room, for the next 14 days.
Ukiah Post Acute Care has begun notifying family of residents of the positive COVID cases, and Mendo Voice received a tip from Perry Two Feather Tripp, whose grandmother is at the facility. Two Feather Tripp complained that his family had had several issues with the facility and was frustrated by the lack of access. He noted that since the beginning of the pandemic visits with residents have been made through glass, with a phone, but that at his last visit his 3 year old niece did slip through an open door to hug her grandmother.
Local staff at Redwood Creek Care Center in Willits would not comment, saying that corporate policy forbade it. Executive Director Payne, in Yuba City, said that he would have to consult with his attorneys and insurance company before divulging information. Payne cited HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) as his initial reason for not providing information, however as evidenced by the willingness of other facilities to provide basic details, such questions as whether the infected person is a patient or resident are not in fact secret under HIPAA. No one at Redwood Creek or their corporate office offered the information as to whether a worker or resident has tested positive.
Payne did add that since the beginning of the pandemic, “We have limited visitation actually starting in the beginning of March. Through the direction of our medical director we had stopped outside visitation to take every precaution we could and that hasn’t change.”
He added, “We’re doing facial coverings and distancing and we’ve been doing that for some time.” mass testing is already underway.
Mendocino County spokesperson Sarah Dukett confirmed positive COVID tests associated with these three care facilities and said that Public Health would be issuing a press release with additional details about who exactly tested positive, how many, and other details.