COVID-19 outbreak at South Bay nursing home raises concerns

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and now a South Bay nursing home has at least half a dozen residents and staff who have tested positive for the virus.

Late Thursday afternoon, officials with the Canyon Springs Post-Acute Care facility reported an increase in the number of infections, from three to six. The growing threat prompted executives to call families to come and get their loved ones, if able, and remove them for a 14-day quarantine at home.

Officials say multiple positive test results were revealed, one as recently as this week. Two residents and four staffers are infected with the virus. One resident was discharged before the test results were known, and the other is hospitalized. Additionally, 26 other residents and staffers are being tested to see if they also contracted the virus.
“I think a situation within a nursing home or any closed confinement, like a prison for example, could be extremely dangerous,” said Dr. Mark Schwartz, an adjunct professor of biotechnology at San Jose State University.
In an email to KTVU, Administrator Benton Collins said: We have been vigilant and early for weeks in adopting the practices and protocols that have been directed by [the] Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, state and county guidance to protect the frail and vulnerable residents entrusted to our care.”

Canyon Springs caters to residents who need care after hospitalization, as well as those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. On any given day, there are 199 residents housed at theEast San Jose location.
“I think there’s tremendous concern among the medical profession and the politicians, that the next front will be nursing homes, and prisons, and other areas where people are confined and can’t leave,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Canyon Springs officials say stricter protocols are in place. Among them, more stringent visitor restrictions; screening of staff and essential visitors; and more frequent monitoring of resident’s conditions.
Collins said, “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of everyone in our facility.” Schwartz added, “…This is essentially a war, and in the fog of war, it’s a matter of triaging every situation, every patient; triaging your equipment and your facilities to put to the best use.”
Dr. Schwartz said there are signs the infection rate in the Bay Area is slowing, due to staying at home, social distancing, and hand sanitizing.
Canyon Springs did not comment on whether it's considering closing the facility in the short-term or what families should do if they cannot bring their loved ones home.