5 more COVID-19 deaths reported at Santa Cruz County nursing facility

SANTA CRUZ — An outbreak of COVID-19 cases has caused another five deaths at the Watsonville Post-Acute Center, a skilled nursing facility.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 46 residents and 15 staff at the nursing facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The five deaths raise the total deaths at the facility related to COVID-19 to nine.

State and local public health officials continue to work closely with the nursing facility to manage the serious outbreak, according to a press release issued by Santa Cruz County.

Since the outbreak began, the California Department of Public Health officials have conducted multiple site visits to provide assessments and recommendations to management at the Watsonville facility. Santa Cruz County health officials also are working with the facility on a daily basis to review protocols on isolation, quarantine, testing, and screening, as well as resource requests for staff and supplies critical to resolving the outbreak.

Additionally, the California National Guard is also providing staffing support to the facility.

“Watsonville Post-Acute informed CDPH and the County as soon as the first resident tested positive,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, Deputy Health Officer for Santa Cruz County, in a prepared statement. “Our staff is focused on the outbreak and we will continue to work closely with WPA.”

At the onset of the pandemic, according to the county, staff from the county’s Communicable Disease Unit and Emergency Preparedness Unit worked with each of the seven skilled nursing facilities in the county to develop a plan that included a comprehensive checklist tool, site maps and scenario planning in the event of an outbreak.

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