Twenty-four residents and three staff members at an Orinda skilled nursing facility have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, with two of the residents hospitalized, Contra Costa County health officials said Friday afternoon.
Dan Peddycord, Contra Costa County's director of public health, said health officials were called Tuesday to the Orinda Care Center, when two residents showed symptoms of coronavirus. All residents and staff were then tested, with the original two residents, 22 other residents and three staffers testing positive.
Fourteen other residents and staff tested negative, county Health Official Dr. Chris Farnitano said. A few tests, he said, remained outstanding Friday afternoon, with those results expected later Friday.
Except for the two who were hospitalized, the Orinda care facility residents remain at that center, Farnitano said, one or two per patient room. Some show symptoms, he said, and others do not. The three staffers were told to isolate at home for 14 days.
Farnitano said it's possible these staffers could return to work after 14 days, specifically to take care of patients who have tested positive.
The conditions of the two hospitalized seniors were not available Friday afternoon.
Farnitano said health officials are in the early stages of investigations at "more than one" skilled nursing facility in Contra Costa County, but that it's too soon to know whether there are any other outbreaks in facilities populated mostly by seniors.
Because seniors are among those at greatest risk of becoming ill and dying from coronavirus, Peddycord described skilled-nursing facilities as "sensitive settings." And Farnitano said it isn't a surprise that an outbreak would happen at such a facility.
"We've been preparing for this unfortunate situation for some time," Farnitano said. "We're all worried, and we're especially worried about our seniors." County staff has been offering training for workers at the Orinda facilities and others in proper distancing and best use of personal protective equipment.
Also on Friday, Farnitano and others said county officials now "strongly recommend" people wear cloth masks when going shopping or anywhere else where people gather, even with the proper six-foot "social distancing.”
The best way to not spread COVID-19, they said, is to stay home as much as possible, and to stay as far away from people as possible when not at home.