Huntington Beach nursing home sees COVID-19 cases soar to 96 amid broadened testing efforts

Huntington Valley Healthcare Center in Huntington Beach had its first two deaths Tuesday related to the coronavirus pandemic and 96 cases have been identified among residents and staff.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A Huntington Beach skilled nursing facility saw its infection rate of COVID-19 soar as recent testing confirmed a surge in cases associated with the healthcare center after Orange County health officials implemented broader testing.

Following more testing on Wednesday, Huntington Valley Healthcare Center said it has identified 62 cases of coronavirus, including two deaths, among its approximately 100 residents and 34 cases among its healthcare staff of equal size. This is a significant leap from the 74 total cases reported by facility on Tuesday.

According to Huntington Valley, 16 residents and two members of the facility’s healthcare staff have been hospitalized. All other infected staff members are self-isolating.

The remaining COVID-19 positive residents are in an isolated unit within the nursing home and treatment is being directed by county healthcare officials. Huntington Valley’s healthcare staff working with COVID-19 patients have been segregated from staff interacting with the uninfected residents’ population, a spokesperson for Huntington Valley said Friday.

The skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility on Newman Avenue learned Tuesday of its first fatality related to the coronavirus, a 79-year-old man who had been transferred to an area hospital to receive acute care had died overnight. A 77-year-old man who died Tuesday afternoon was the first to die at the nursing home, a spokesperson said.

Huntington Valley first took steps to lock down its facility on March 11, including strict restriction on visits by healthcare workers only, locking doors to prevent anyone from entering the facility without a screening, curtailing communal activities among residents and increasing disinfection practices, Huntington Valley said.

“The unsolicited support and well wishes we’ve received from area hospitals, faith-based organizations and government entities have been nothing short of tremendous,” Huntington Valley Healthcare Center administrator Sarah Bates said in a written statement. “We’re so appreciative of these gestures. It allows our dedicated team to continue their tireless, around-the-clock work to fight this pandemic and care for everyone in our facility. We’re grateful for their continued efforts.”

OC Health Care Agency reported 33 new cases throughout the county Friday for a total of 1,845 including 36 deaths. The agency recognized 162 cases in Huntington Beach.

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