Eight people have now died from a COVID-19 outbreak at a San Andreas nursing home, Calaveras County public health officials announced Friday.
Avalon Health Care in San Andreas reported last week that five residents had died after testing positive, though the Calaveras County Public Health Division was waiting for confirmation from doctors before counting them as coronavirus related deaths.
The deceased were described as two women and six men, all over age 65. All eight individuals tested positive for the virus and were unable to recover, Dean Kelaita, the Calaveras County health officer, said Friday.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who passed away from COVID-19,” Kelaita said. “Today is a somber day as we also remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001. We extend our gratitude to all the first responders for their courage and service. We also take a pause to reflect on the lives lost to COVID-19 in Calaveras County and reflect on the heroism of health care workers that continue to provide valuable services during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Calaveras County has counted 10 deaths from the virus after the eight from the nursing home were officially confirmed on Friday.
The latest update on Avalon’s website was on Tuesday and stated that seven residents had died at the time out of a total of 52 who tested positive, which at the time included 15 who were being cared for in the COVID unit at the facility, five at the hospital, one discharged and 24 recovered.
“We are working diligently to limit the spread of the virus to other residents of the facility and are communicating this news to our residents, staff, and their loved ones,” Avalon stated in the post on Tuesday.
Measures that the facility was taking included limiting access to the building and carefully screening everyone who enters, only allowing essential visitors and vendors to enter on a case-by-case basis, and following the state and federal guidelines that apply to nursing facilities that have a confirmed case, the post stated.
The facility is owned and operated by Avalon Health Care Group, a corporation based in Utah that also has Avalon Care Center in Sonora and more than 50 care facilities in the western United States and Hawaii.
A spokeswoman for the company told The Union Democrat last week that the first person to test positive at the facility was a resident on July 22 who was asymptomatic and tested during the facility’s monthly round of surveillance testing.
Five residents from the facility were also transferred to Avalon Care Center in Sonora before being subsequently transferred back and have since recovered.
The most recent update to families on the website for Avalon Care Center in Sonora was dated Sept. 4 and said that a total of six residents have tested positive there since the pandemic began, but all have recovered.
Calaveras County also counted a total of 12 new cases on Friday that include one girl and two boys between newborn and 17 years old; four women and two men between 18 and 49; and three men over age 65.
There have 298 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Calaveras County since counting began in March, with 29 that remained active including two hospitalized Friday and 259 individuals recovered.
Tuolumne County public health staff counted one new case of COVID-19 on Friday, with nine active cases and one individual currently hospitalized.
One individual who was previously hospitalized has been discharged and is isolating at home. Since March, county public health staff have counted 213 total cases of coronavirus, with 187 individuals recovered and three deaths due to the pandemic.
Earlier this week, an individual died who was COVID-19 positive. The case of the deceased individual was being investigated. County public health staff said they were not counting the death as attributable to COVID-19 until they get confirmation.
A no-cost testing site at Frogtown remains open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, at Calaveras County Fairgrounds outside Angels Camp.
The site offers testing for children ages 3 and older, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Walk-in opportunities for testing are limited. Appointments can be scheduled ahead of time at www.lhicare.com/covidtesting online.