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Number of COVID-19 deaths at Redwood Springs nursing home rises to 10

VISALIA, Calif. (FOX26) — The number of people infected with the coronavirus at a Visalia nursing home has soared to 156, as of Thursday afternoon.

10 people have passed away.

106 residents are infected, along with 50 staff members.

Two nurses working at Redwood Springs Healthcare Facility told FOX26 News they feel they weren’t properly protected against the virus.

The nurses said visitors were allowed into the facility even after Redwood enacted a policy limiting that.

Both nurses told FOX26 News they weren’t given personal protective equipment.

One nurse says she warned her supervisor she had a fever, but was told to come to work anyway. Three days later, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Now, there are government officials pushing for an investigation into the facility.

Tulare County Supervisor Kuyler Crocker is one of them.

"This is disastrous, this is an atrocity, it's saddening,” said Crocker

There are about 150 people living at Redwood Springs.

106 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

One of the residents who tested positive is 90-year-old Bill Eidschun, whose son Dave just learned that news yesterday.

"Everybody in that place was getting it, so we knew sooner or later, he was probably going to test positive.”

Luckily, Eidschun says his father has never had many health issues in the past.

He’s hoping that means his father won’t have too much trouble with the coronavirus either.

"We hear that all of his vitals are doing well. Other than being 90 years old, he's a pretty healthy guy."

Another 48 staff members at Redwood Springs have tested positive as well.

Supervisor Crocker wants to do an investigation not only to see how the virus got in the facility in the first place, but how it spread so rampantly.

"There are more than 100 individuals that have already contracted the disease. That's not the case at every skilled nursing facility that contracts the virus, so what happened there that was different from other facilities? Where were there issues? What can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?"

Anita Hubbard, the Administrator at Redwood Springs, told FOX26 News in a statement,

This incident underscores the service and sacrifices made by our dedicated team every day. We’re grateful for their continued efforts. Our top priority remains the health and well-being of everyone in our facility.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also has its eyes on Redwood Springs.

CMS is aware of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Redwood Springs Healthcare Center Nursing Home and is monitoring the situation extremely closely with the California State Survey Agency. As a matter of policy, CMS does not announce the plans or timing of inspection activity at facilities.

Eidschun says this hasn’t tainted his view of the nursing home.

"In the past, my sister and I have been nothing but happy with the care Redwood Springs has given him. They've done a great job. We like all the folks there, and dad even seems like them too."

22 people at the facility have tested negative – though Redwood didn’t provide numbers on whether those negative tests were among staff or residents.

A few people are still waiting on test results.

FOX26 News asked Redwood Springs what it was doing to ensure everyone who has COVID-19 is receiving good care, and everyone who doesn’t have it is protected from it.

Administrator Hubbard told FOX26 the staff at the nursing home is getting the necessary PPE, including N-95 respirators, gowns, and gloves.

Since there are so many staff members out right now, Kaweah Delta and Adventist Health hospitals have sent over some employees to help out.

FOX26 News also reached out to Tulare County Health and Human Services, which has been working with Redwood Springs as well.

A representative explained, the HHSA has given Redwood a clinical nurse resource who has been at the facility, assisting staffers.

That nurse has been helping to explain to other staffers how to properly use the PPE; providing guidance on how to ensure patients stay separated; and ensuring workers don’t cross from one area to another.

As of Wednesday, the HHSA was not able to address how much of its investigation into and dealings with Redwood could be made public. The Agency said it would get back to FOX26 within the next few days.


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