At least 30 patients at Extended Care Hospital of Riverside have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Riverside County health officials said Sunday. Officials said they were testing other patients and employees who have been exposed to COVID-19.
The hospital is a skilled nursing facility. While officials were testing patients and staff members, the facility was closed to new patients, and all staff members were instructed to use personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We will be seeing more and more of these outbreaks in the community,” said Riverside County Public Health Official Dr. Cameron Kaiser in a statement. “This is a vulnerable population and we’ll take all the steps necessary to protect them. But these steps can only work effectively if people stay home, stay apart, and cover up their faces in public to reduce overall transmission.”
Health officials are prioritizing investigations in rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes due to the constant close interaction between patients and staff members.
“Rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes present a challenge for health officials because of the population that resides there – older, less healthy and some with underlying health issues – and because of their close proximity,” wrote Riverside County Public Information Officer Brooke Federico.
Trent Evans, the general counsel of the nursing facility, was working with COVID-19 specialists to test facility staff members and implement more methods to contain the virus, county officials said.
“We have been working closely with one of California's premier infectious disease specialist physicians to assure that the facility maintains the highest standards in all areas of care while our attention is trained on infection protection,” Evans said. “We are confident that Extended Care Hospital of Riverside will continue to be a top-rated facility going forward.”