COVID-19 cases in California nursing homes down nearly 98%

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —  A new report shows the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes is down. Advocates hope the information leads to skilled nursing facilities being allowed to return to more normal operations.


Skilled nursing facilities were some of the first places to shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic began.


Now, nearly one year later, new nationwide data shows that since December, there’s an 82% decline in new COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities.


As of last month, cases have dropped to the lowest level since May.


The new report also shows a decline in COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes since December.


In California, the news is even more promising. Since December, the number of new cases statewide is down 98%.


"I think the vaccine has had an accelerating impact but it’s also that our facilities have increased their infection control techniques quite a lot. There is more testing available than there had been at all early in the pandemic when there was no testing, no personal protective equipment it was much more difficult to control this virus," said CEO of the California Association of Health Facilities Craig Cornett.


The Folsom Care Center saw its only outbreak in November. Sixty-six residents and 65 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Six residents died.


Currently, there are no positive cases. Seventy-five percent of the 115-member staff has been vaccinated and all but two of the 64 residents have been fully vaccinated. Those two residents chose not to get the vaccine.


Additionally, visitors inside the facility are limited to those caring for residents. Physical distancing, masks and protective goggles are worn by the staff.


Last year, the center installed a plexiglass window with an intercom system that allows residents to visit with loved ones.


"We want to just do what’s best for these residents and try and get back to a more normal society," said Casey Callaway, assistant administrator at Folsom Care Center.


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