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Dozens of deaths and hundreds of cases in assisted living and long-term facilities

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 19:08:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - There’s a growing concern about the spread of COVID-19 from staff and family members of people in assisted and long-term living facilities.

New numbers released by the County of San Diego show hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths from people living in congregate and community settings.

According to the county, there are a cumulative total of 34 confirmed outbreaks. Those include 20 outbreaks in congregate facilities, representing 285 cases and 36 deaths, and 14 outbreaks in community setting locations, which represent 65 cases and one death.

“I fear that we’re at the beginning of this,” said Mike Dark with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “Even as this virus starts to get under control in the rest of the country and the state at large, it’s going to get much worse in nursing homes.”

RELATED: State releases nursing home death information

10News has received several tips from residents’ family members and staff at locations where confirmed cases and deaths have allegedly taken place. In most cases, the county will not confirm what we’re being told.

Instead, county officials responded: “Just a reminder that the county does not disclose names of specific businesses with positive cases. However, in the case of long-term care facilities, they are under orders from the state to notify residents, family members, or resident’s representative, if there is a COVID-19 positive worker or resident in their facility.”

Dark said there’s danger in a lack of information from local governments.

RELATED: Multiple San Diego nursing homes dealing with coronavirus cases

“The reason they are avoiding where the COIVD-19 virus is spreading is out of fear of stigmatizing facilities, and unfortunately that is exactly the kind of information that people need to make smart decisions about healthcare for themselves and their loved ones,” Dark said.

10News was able to confirm 16 employees at La Vida Real, an assisted living center in Rancho San Diego, tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

In a statement to 10News, a spokesperson wrote in part: “Our first priority remains the health and safety of our residents and staff. We are working in collaboration with the health department and proactively have had them onsite to review our response plans and protocols. They have been supportive of our extensive precautionary measures and actions. We are continuing to follow evolving CDC as well as government guidelines as we all work to lessen the effects of this virus. Our community remains vigilant in the extraordinary efforts being taken to ensure the health and well-being of our residents and staff.”

RELATED: State data shows San Diego County nursing home has dozens of COVID-19 cases