Coronavirus outbreak at San Jose nursing home leaves 151 residents and staff infected

Santa Clara County health officials confirm 151 residents and staff of the Amberwood Gardens care facility in San Jose are infected with coronavirus. It joins a list of other congregate settings ravaged by recent outbreaks.

“This coincides with the rise in cases that we have been seeing since the beginning of November,” Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer Dr. George Hahn said Thursday.

A staffer who wishes to remain anonymous says at least 70 people are COVID-19 positive at the Golden LivingCenter. County health officials confirm that, and say at least 20 staffers are also infected with coronavirus. The worker who reached out to Fox 2 complains management isn’t doing enough to protect residents and staff.

“It is more dangerous right now in our community than at any other point in the pandemic,” said Dr. Hahn.

Attempts to get comment from the Golden LivingCenter by email and phone have gone unanswered.

Health experts say virus outbreaks inside such facilities should be expected given the dramatic rise in cases outside of them.

“All it takes is one person to get into the nursing home, probably a worker, a nurse… and that’s how it spreads,” said Dr. Mark Schwartz, a San Jose State University biotechnologist. Added Stanford Geriatric Medicine Chief Dr. Marina Martin, “When you’re living in a group living setting, once it gets in, it’s very easy to spread from person-to-person.”

Dr. Martin said the close nature of care rendered in group homes and other congregate settings makes preventing COVID-19 spread difficult.

“The caregivers and the people working with them have to go from patient to patient to patient. Resident to resident. So they’re going from room to room, even if the individuals living there are not,” she said.

Difficulty exists stemming the spread once it’s started. Experts say the only way to stop it within these facilities is to use personal protective equipment, test everyone entering each day, and segregate infected residents away from others who aren’t COVID-19 positive.