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Grim toll at California nursing homes: 3,500 infected with coronavirus, Newsom says

A worker pushes a resident in a wheelchair out of the Beachwood Post-Acute & Rehab center in Santa Monica on Monday. Beachwood has been cited for poor infection control the last three years.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

More than 3,500 people who live or work in one of California’s nursing homes have tested positive for coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday.

Newsom said that figure, gleaned from tests conducted in the 400 facilities across the state, should serve as a reminder of the need for maintaining the statewide rules on physical distancing and staying at home.

“Our seniors, the people that literally raised us, built this middle class,” Newsom said. “These are folks that are still most at risk.”

The governor pointed in particular to the results from a nursing facility in Tulare County, where he said 157 of the 167 people — either residents or employees — tested positive.

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“I just cannot impress upon folks more: This knows no geography, it knows certainly no party, it knows no region,” Newsom said of the coronavirus. “This is impacting all of us across the state.”

Institutional settings such as nursing homes have been major hot spots for the virus in Los Angeles County. Roughly 30% of the deaths in the County have occurred in nursing homes. In Long Beach, that number is more than 70%. All of Pasadena’s 16 fatalities have been associated with long-term care facilities.

Nursing homes have been a crisis point elsewhere. San Francisco Bay Area prosecutors have opened an investigation into the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward, where 13 people have died. Forty-one residents and 26 staff members there have tested positive.

California reached a grim new milestone Friday in the fight against the coronavirus, as the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 reached 1,000.

L.A. County reported 40 more deaths Friday and 567 new cases, for a total of 495 deaths and 11,391 cases.

The rising tolls comes even as the growth of coronavirus cases appears to be slowing in the state. Officials have cautiously credited strict stay-at-home orders for the deceleration but say the trend could reverse if the restrictions are lifted too soon.


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