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State releases nursing home death information

Posted: 5:11 PM, May 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-05-11 20:12:58-04
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than half of all COVID-19 deaths in San Diego County are from congregate and community care settings.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the state of California is releasing information about the number of deaths inside each facility.

According to newly released state records, Elmcroft of La Mesa has 12 COVID-19 related deaths among residents. It's the second highest total on the list of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) and Adult Residential Facilities released by the California Department of Social Services.

State records show Elmcroft of La Mesa also had 34 residents, and 12 staff members at some point test positive for COVID-19.

In a statement to 10News, the executive director of the facility wrote, "Eclipse Senior Living began managing Elmcroft of La Mesa in 2018, and our top priorities are the health, safety and welfare of all who live and work in our community. We deeply appreciate the dedication of our staff, who with others on the front lines of the pandemic response, have and continue to follow public health protocols that we evaluate and update as we all learn more about COVID-19. A summary of those protocols is noted in our recent resident letter, attached for your reference. Although it has been more than 14 days from the last positive test result at Elmcroft of La Mesa, out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of our residents, we are keeping our quarantine protocols in place for now."

The newly released information from the state gives insight into what local nursing homes and acute care facilities have been battling.

"It's encouraging that the state is finally doing it; tragic that it's taken so long," said Mike Dark with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. "Here's the problem: the data that they are giving us is really just a snapshot."

Dark said when everyone looks back, they're going to see that probably more than half of the infections took place in nursing homes.

"We're seeing just the tip of the iceberg of what is a staggering crisis," he said.

According to the California Department of Public Health, when looking at skilled nursing facilities in San Diego County, Victoria Post Acute Care has had 13 residential COVID-19 related deaths.

State data also shows 37 positive cases among healthcare workers and residents.

In a statement, the executive director of Victoria Post Acute care wrote in part, "In response to your email of today, and while I maintain the COVID-19 situation is much more complex than the ‘numbers’ would suggest, the information you reference on the number of residents who have passed after being diagnosed with COVID-19 is accurate. What is not clear is the relationship between the virus and the resident's passing, and we are not in a position at this point to draw a straight line between those two events. What is clear is the depth of the loss that is felt in relation to the residents' passing, as each individual was an important part of the Victoria Post Acute community; we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the family members and loved ones left behind."

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