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Visalia healthcare facility now reporting 112 COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths

VISALIA, California (KSEE) – A Visalia nursing home was still facing a deadly coronavirus outbreak Monday.

Six Redwood Springs Health Center patients are now dead, and 112 people at the facility have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The number of infections at the facility now accounts for nearly half of Tulare County’s cases.

“From the second I heard (COVID-19) was there, that there was a confirmed case there we’ve just been terrified because we knew most of the people would probably end up with it,” Misty Chandler said.

Chandler’s grandmother has been at Redwood Springs since 2016, and 84-year-old Bonnie Vantassel tested positive Thursday. But Chandler said the facility never notified her family.

“When they do call us they give us an update ‘everything good, she’s doing good. She’s doing fine.’ Finally I told my mother you need to ask questions, specific questions, has she been tested? Does she have a temperature? Does she have a fever?,” she said.

On Monday, 71 residents and 41 healthcare workers had tested positive.

The California Department of Public Health said it’s working with the county and the facility to isolate residents and try to prevent further spread.

Redwood Springs sent a statement, but declined an interview to discuss the situation.

Tulare County Supervisor Kuyler Crocker said the state has control of shutting care facilities down.

“We know that this particular operator has had a history of mismanagement issues and I think that the state after this is all said and done really needs to seriously look at this operator and make sure that they’re held to task for putting people’s lives at risk and the people that already have lost their lives,” he said.

Crocker said the county is working with health partners on staffing issues, to fill in for some of the employees who are now sick. He’s unaware if the facility violated any laws with the way the outbreak was handled.

“As of right now I don’t know that there’s any investigation through our district attorney’s office but I’m sure that he and I will be in close contact regarding this,” he said.

Chandler said her grandmother is now at Kaweah Delta and said anyone with family at Redwood Springs needs to be proactive.

“Make sure they’re asking specific questions, don’t just assume that they’re going to tell you the information you want to know,” she said.

At first only patients and staff who showed symptoms were being tested. The county has since requested everyone is tested, which the facility is now in the process of doing.


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