A surge in COVID-19 cases at nursing homes in Marin has prompted the county’s top public health official to issue a new order regarding vaccinations and visitors.
As of Thursday, 24 residents and staff members of four Marin Nursing Homes had tested positive for the coronavirus since early last week.
“As the delta variant spreads, we are seeing more cases in facilities,” said Marin Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said. “The majority of cases at countywide facilities are of unvaccinated staff. The current cluster of cases in Redwoods is our largest with 12 as of today. Most of the employees. “
Willis said he has issued an order requiring people coming to Marin County Nursing Home to be vaccinated. Additionally, exposed employees and residents must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status. Any center with an outbreak should test employees twice weekly.
The new local order comes amid a surge in cases across the country and a new state order issued this week that requires employees of California hospitals and long-term care centers to remain in place until August 23.
The order states, “Recent outbreaks in health care settings have been traced to non-vaccinated staff members, demonstrating the risk of non-vaccinated individuals in these settings Is.”
The state also requires that visitors to hospitals, skilled nursing centers and intermediate care centers be either vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours from indoor visits. This order is effective from August 11.
After a dramatic drop in infections over the past several months, the number of coronavirus cases among the nation’s nursing home residents and staff tripled from July 4 to 25, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the state’s Department of Public Health, from January 1 to July 27, a total of 9,371 COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed and 113,196 cases related to the outbreak. The two most common settings were residential care centers, accounting for 22.5% of them, and skilled nursing sites, which accounted for about 10%.
Redwoods, the site of the largest current outbreak in Marin, is a retirement community in Mill Valley that includes independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing apartments. About 350 to 400 people live there.
“I hate to panic everyone, but yeah, we have some positives,” said Redwoods administrator Katherine Scott.
Scott said none of the infected residents lived in the skilled nursing section; These 40-something residents are more medically fragile than other residents.
“Pretty much all of our residents have been vaccinated so the symptoms are very mild,” Scott said.
Willis said that about 95% of nursing home residents nationwide have been vaccinated and that none of the residents or staff who recently tested positive have died or required hospitalization.
“We’re starting to see a new pattern for facility outbreaks,” Willis said. “With more residents vaccinated, the proportion of infections in the facility has shifted toward more staff than residents.”
Willis said that one out of every five coronavirus deaths in Marin earlier in the pandemic occurred in nursing home residents.
Scott said that before the recent outbreak, Redwoods was testing employees and residents once a week for COVID-19. This is how the campus first became aware of the outbreak late last week. The person who tested positive was showing no symptoms.
“Some people have been asymptomatic; Some are vaccinated,” Scott said. “That’s what’s really driving us to increase our screening because we’re seeing COVID positive cases among vaccinated and asymptomatic people.”
On Monday, Marin County joined six other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley to ensure that face coverings are required in indoor public spaces.
Public health officials decided to take action after a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released on July 30 showed that the delta variant spreads as easily among vaccinated people as among unvaccinated people – although vaccinated people. are rarely seriously ill.