SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Health officials announced that two more workers at Laguna Honda, San Francisco’s sprawling senior health facility, have tested positive as the coronavirus continues to spread among staff members.
Officials said nine staff members — seven who provide patient care and two who do not — have now tested positive. Two patients have also tested positive. All were reported in good condition.
Contact investigations were currently underway, including testing, and the units have been quarantined. Testing of patients in the affected unit has been completed and staff testing was nearly completed.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed addressed the what was happening at Laguna Honda during her Monday address on the city’s response to the coronavirus.
“I want to be clear, the situation will escalate at Laguna Honda. It will escalate here in San Francisco,” said Breed. “The fact that we are taking such drastic steps to in essence shutdown San Francisco has everything to do with how serious this is.”
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
“We will continue to do everything we can to protect Laguna Honda’s residents and staff,” SF Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.
So far, the Department of Public Health has tested 158 employees and 54 residents at the hospital for COVID-19. Eighty-eight employee tests are underway.
Of the employees, two have tested positive, while two residents also tested positive and another resident’s results are pending. Thirty-five other employees got tested through their health care provider, resulting in seven additional cases of employees testing positive, according to Colfax.
“We know that long-term care facilities are at most risk for coronavirus outbreaks, therefore we expect the situation to unfortunately get worse,” he said.
Infectious disease physicians and epidemiologists with expertise in epidemics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and infection nurses from the California Department of Public Health visited the hospital’s campus on Monday.
The experts are assessing the situation and making recommendations for ongoing management of an outbreak that is expected to escalate. They’ll also help develop a prospective outbreak and prevention plan for long term care facilities, Colfax said.
Additionally, the state public health nurses will also create expanded protocols on cleaning, personal protective equipment and staff safety.
Additional resources from the Department of Public Health, University of California at San Francisco and Sutter Health were “being deployed to strengthen the response.”
Meanwhile, work is beginning on a field hospital on the Laguna Honda campus, preparing for more cases.
Colfax said his department still can’t get enough tests to figure out how quickly the virus is spreading.
“We are struggling to get swabs in order to test. Along the supply chain, there are severe limitations,” explained Colfax. “While my public health lab is expected to triple it’s potential capacity starting today, we are still struggling along that supply chain to ramp up testing as quickly as possible.”
Laguna Honda is a long-term care facility for the elderly, owned and operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.