Coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreaks ravage nursing homes again, even after Newsom safety measures

After a steady slide in the statewide number of new coronavirus infections at skilled nursing homes, facilities in Santa Cruz and Shasta Counties are grappling with severe outbreaks, with several dozen people at both places testing positive and residents dying of COVID-19.



a man walking across Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay: The Sundial Bridge in Redding. Coronavirus outbreaks have recently hit nursing homes in that Northern California city and also in Santa Cruz County. (William Koplitz / Getty Images)


© (William Koplitz / Getty Images)
The Sundial Bridge in Redding. Coronavirus outbreaks have recently hit nursing homes in that Northern California city and also in Santa Cruz County. (William Koplitz / Getty Images)

The outbreaks raise questions on whether a May directive by state health officials, requiring regular testing of nursing home residents and staff, is being comprehensively implemented. Some watchdogs fear another spike could be in the offing at facilities that care for some of California’s most frail and vulnerable.

“Something is terribly wrong because they shouldn’t be having deaths,” Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at UC San Francisco who studies skilled nursing facilities, said Thursday. “There is a breakdown.”

At the Watsonville-Post Acute Center in Santa Cruz County, 61 people, including nine staff members, have tested positive since mid-September. Nine residents, whose ages ranged from the low 70s to 90s, have died, county health spokeswoman Corinne Hyland said Tuesday.

The facility is licensed for 95 beds.

In Redding, the Windsor Redding Care Center, another skilled nursing home, also is coping with an outbreak. Sixty residents and 20 staff members have contracted the virus, and seven have died from COVID-19, said Shasta County Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kerri Schuette.

Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said new California testing requirements imposed on nursing homes were being followed only sporadically and with little follow-up enforcement from the state.

In addition, rapid antigen tests the federal government has sent to nursing homes recently have been “absolutely useless,” she said. They produce

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Rise of coronavirus in nursing homes has Muskegon County probing possible reinfections

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – A concerning uptick in coronavirus cases among nursing homes is under investigation by Muskegon County health officials, who are exploring whether there may be some reinfections.

That’s according to Kathy Moore, director of Public Health-Muskegon County, who said she’s concerned about the continuing growth in new COVID-19 cases.

There is one known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the county, in which the two episodes of illness were about four months apart, Moore said.

Muskegon County statistics show a surge of 14 cases among individuals age 80 and older in the past week. There are another six new cases among people in their 70s.

Overall, the county recorded 74 additional cases since Sept. 30, bringing the cumulative total to 1,566. Deaths increased by two in the last eight days – both of whom were elderly patients from congregate living facilities, Moore said.

Muskegon County public health employees are working to get to the bottom of the increase in cases among people in such congregate living facilities as nursing homes and assistance living residences, Moore said.

“We don’t understand if it’s a second wave of (illness in) the same individuals, or did they get new staff?” she said. “We’re trying to understand what’s happening.”

The state requires testing of employees and residents every seven days if there’s a new positive case among them, Moore said, adding that that may not be enough.

“I feel like we may have to step back and rethink this,” she said.

There has not been a school outbreak in Muskegon County, and Moore praised the cooperation of the education community. The county’s statistics show another six cases among young people age 19 and under, but investigators determined none of the exposures occurred at school, she said.

The rise in cases among those 80

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Nursing Homes in Nevada Told to Stop Using Rapid Coronavirus Tests

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Julia Rendleman for The New York Times

The coronavirus tests kits are small and fast — they produce results in as a little as 15 minutes — and when they were first distributed to nursing homes around the country in August by the federal government, they were welcomed with open arms.

At last it seemed, there was a solution to the delays and equipment shortages that had stymied efforts to use laboratory-based tests to curb outbreaks.

But now Nevada has ordered its nursing facilities to immediately suspend the use of two of the rapid virus tests after their performance was found to be lacking, according to a directive issued by the state’s department of health.

The order was prompted by a spate of false-positive results, in which the tests mistakenly found that healthy people were infected. The state directed that use of the kits be discontinued “until the accuracy of the tests can be further evaluated,” the Nevada document said.

The rapid tests are manufactured by two companies: Quidel, and Becton, Dickinson and Company, Representatives for the companies defended their products and said they were conducting investigations into the reports of false positives in Nevada.

Lisa Sanders, director of media relations at LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services, said that several nursing homes in other states had been experiencing issues with BD and Quidel’s tests and reporting them to her organization and the American Health Care Association in recent weeks.

In submitting their applications to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency clearance, both BD and Quidel declared that their tests had no false positives.

But shortly after the tests were rolled out across the state

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Nevada halts use of rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes, citing inaccuracies.

The coronavirus tests kits are small and fast — they produce results in as a little as 15 minutes — and when they were first distributed to nursing homes around the country in August by the federal government, they were welcomed with open arms.

At last it seemed, there was a solution to the delays and equipment shortages that had stymied efforts to use laboratory-based tests to curb outbreaks.

But now Nevada has ordered its nursing facilities to immediately suspend the use of two of the rapid virus tests after their performance was found to be lacking, according to a directive issued by the state’s department of health.

The order was prompted by a spate of false-positive results, in which the tests mistakenly found that healthy people were infected. The state directed that use of the kits be discontinued “until the accuracy of the tests can be further evaluated,” the Nevada document said.

The rapid tests are manufactured by two companies: Quidel, and Becton, Dickinson and Company, Representatives for the companies defended their products and said they were conducting investigations into the reports of false positives in Nevada.

Lisa Sanders, director of media relations at LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services, said that several nursing homes in other states had been experiencing issues with BD and Quidel’s tests and reporting them to her organization and the American Health Care Association in recent weeks.

In submitting their applications to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency clearance, both BD and Quidel declared that their tests had no false positives.

But shortly after the tests were rolled out across the state this summer, nursing homes began to report that people who had been evaluated by both the rapid tests and a slower but highly reliable laboratory test, called P.C.R.,

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Nevada Halts Use of Rapid Coronavirus Tests in Nursing Homes, Citing Inaccuracies

Kristen Cardillo, BD’s vice president of global communication, said the company was aware of the situation in Nevada and was “conducting thorough investigations.” She added that “based on the information in the directive and the total tests performed, we believe the rate of reported false positives is well within what we would expect for the BD Veritor System.”

Representatives for the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment.

Concerns have also been raised about the ability of antigen tests to accurately pinpoint infections, especially if administered during a period when a person harbors low levels of the coronavirus. BD’s test is advertised as having a false negative rate of 16 percent. Quidel’s is just above 3 percent. The directive from Nevada’s department of health did not report whether the negative antigen test results from nursing homes — there were nearly 3,700 such results — had been confirmed by P.C.R.

In a call with LeadingAge members on Monday, Adm. Brett Giroir, who has been leading the nation’s testing efforts, said antigen tests were “clearly a lifesaving option,” and for many facilities the best test available, given the delays, expenses and shortages that had plagued P.C.R. tests.

“It is perfectly acceptable for congregate care, particularly nursing homes, to use an antigen test, even if they are, quote, off-label,” Dr. Giroir said in the interview. “Just because they don’t have an authorization doesn’t mean they’re not good for it.”

In response to questions about false positives, Dr. Giroir reminded LeadingAge members that in places where the coronavirus is scarce, false positives should be expected to outnumber true positives and do not necessarily invalidate the usefulness of a test. “That’s a function of the way life is,” Dr. Giroir said.

The halt to antigen testing in Nevada’s nursing

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