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California National Guard sent troops to San Diego nursing homes

Posted at 4:23 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 13:25:48-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, the California National Guard confirmed that its service members were recently sent to two San Diego nursing homes that needed help treating residents who were sick with COVID-19.

“We supplemented their existing staff- their civilian staff- with our medical teams here in the California National Guard,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma told ABC10 and said that they were deployed at the direction of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The National Guard reports that 20 troops were sent to Santee's Stanford Court nursing facility for a week in October and another 20 troops were sent to El Cajon's Villa Las Palmas for two weeks in November.

Lt. Col. Shiroma said teams tested patients and staff and offered other supportive care. “Within the Guard we also have many medical professionals so each of the teams were led by either a physician assistant or a registered nurse or an LPN,” he added.

“If you have an outbreak, you have staff that has to quarantine and so in order to provide care you want to get people into the building to help with the residents,” Deborah Pacyna with the California Association of Health Facilities told ABC10 News.

The CDPH reports that since the start of the pandemic, 50 healthcare workers have tested positive at the El Cajon facility where 91 residents have gotten the virus and 45 healthcare workers have tested positive at the Santee facility where 58 residents have contracted COVID-19.

The National Guard said that it doesn't have any current missions in San Diego but it's always ready. “If something comes in the next few weeks and there’s a need in any part of the state, the California National Guard will respond appropriately,” added Lt. Col. Shiroma.

ABC10 News reached out to both nursing facilities for comment. We are waiting for a reply.