HAYWARD (CBS SF) — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a Hayward nursing home amid an outbreak of coronavirus at the facility that has now claimed the lives of at least 13 residents, two more than the previous day.
The outbreak at Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward was first reported last week when word that 59 people had become infected with COVID-19; 35 residents – six who died – and 24 staff members.
On Wednesday, Alameda County health officials Wednesday reported there are now a total of 41 residents and 26 staff members who have become infected at Gateway.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation at Gateway. We are working with the state and hospital provider partners to target interventions,” the health department said in a statement.
“Sounds like there’s a huge problem in that nursing home and they really need help and oversight or more people could be dying every day,” said Charlene Harrington, PhD, a Professor Emeritus at the UCSF School of Nursing. Harrington said it’s not clear what interventions are planned, but she believes the county and the state need to be doing more.
“They could send in a strike team to bring resources into the facility. But in addition to that, the state has the authority to set up a temporary manager. And the state could manage the facility temporarily until things get under control,” she said.
Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Teresa Drenick said Wednesday her office had launched an investigation of Gateway, where employees alleged they were told to return to work even after contracting the virus.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
“They have the power of the subpoena to force cooperation,” said Union City Councilman Jaime Patino, whose grandmother, Emma Patino, was a resident at Gateway. She passed away Monday night from COVID-19.
“I just want to know where the failures were and why things happened the way they did. And also to put a notice out there to other potential bad actors. Let’s not let this happen again,” Patino said.
On Tuesday, civil rights attorney John Burris called on the DA’s office to launch a probe of Gateway and the complaints from the families of patients and staffers about the facilities practices. Drenick said her office’s investigation predates the comments by Burris.
In additon the East Bay Post-Acute facility in Castro Valley reported its first death amid it own growing outbreak. One Wednesday, health officials said a total of 45 people have become infected; 22 residents and 23 staff members.
Alameda and Contra Costa county health officials on Monday announced tougher standards for residential care and other licensed health care facilities, such as ordering them to screen all staff and visitors for signs of illness and to make them wear masks.
Joe Vazquez contributed to this report.