Woodland nursing facility experiences coronavirus outbreak, Davis nursing homes take extra precautions

Woodland nursing facility experiences coronavirus outbreak, Davis nursing homes take extra precautions

Photo Credits: Quinn Spooner / Aggie. Atria Covell Gardens assisted living community in Davis.

Eleven residents have died at Woodland nursing facility, 64 cases between residents and staff

An outbreak of COVID-19 among residents and staff at a nursing facility in Yolo County has left several dead and 66 people infected. Due to the susceptibility of elderly residents to the coronavirus, nursing facilities in Davis are taking extra precautions to prevent similar outbreaks and to protect staff and residents. 

The Stollwood Convalescent Hospital at St. John’s Retirement Village in Woodland had initially reported 35 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 23 among residents and 12 among staff, when the outbreak was announced on April 13, 2020. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 66, and 11 residents have died due to the disease, according to the Yolo County’s coronavirus dashboard

Stollwood facility is taking steps to keep residents safe, including screening staff for symptoms, training staff on how to use personal protective equipment and setting up a family homeline to connect residents to their families, according to a press release by Yolo County. 

Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman highlighted the emotional effect this outbreak has on the residents and their families in the press release. 

“We must acknowledge the suffering of family and friends at this time, who not only lost a loved one but were unable to be at that individual’s bedside due to the risk of exposure to illness,” Chapman said. “This fear and uncertainty continue for those that are battling COVID-19 and must remain in isolation.”

Sean Beloud, the chief executive officer of St. John Retirement Village, shared a similar sentiment of heartbreak and mourning in an announcement on April 28.

“We are heart stricken by the deaths of any of our residents and are incredibly grateful for the vast support and gratitude from our residents’ families in dealing with this invisible enemy,” Beloud wrote.

He added that many local community members have been showing their support through donations and kind gestures toward the community.

“For example, the Sunrise Rotary donated and delivered lunch to our staff from Cracchiolo’s Market and Deli, Woodland’s McDonalds on West Court street is donating 100 meals for two weeks in a row, and American Medical Responses’ supervisors mowed the lawns of the entire campus,” Beloud wrote.

Despite the community support, COVID-19 has proven to be a persistent “invisible enemy,” as another coronavirus case has been identified at a separate nursing home in Woodland. The affected resident lives at the Californian Assisted Living and Dementia Care facility, but they were transferred to Stollwood “since Stollwood already had resources in place and had implemented care plans and infection control measures for COVID 19 patients,” according to Yolo County’s press release. 

Though no other cases have been identified, nursing facilities throughout Yolo County are on strict lockdown, taking several precautions to protect residents and staff in an effort to prevent an outbreak. Long-care facilities were one of the first services to be restricted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Days before the countywide shelter-in-place order was issued on March 18, a health order was distributed to long-term care facilities throughout the county, instructing facilities to limit visitors and restrict non-essential travel by residents. 

One Davis care facility, Atria Covell Gardens, began introducing other regulations in phases, which ultimately led to restricting residents to their rooms and requiring mandatory staff testing for the virus, according to Julia Blizard, the activities director in the Memory Care Unit of Atria.  

“Our community jumped on it pretty early,” Blizard said. “We started ramping up the phases. So at first, only one family member could visit at a time, and then it ended up being no family members could visit. Then the residents couldn’t eat in the dining room anymore all together, and they were all restricted to their rooms.”

Keeping residents in isolation is much harder for the residents in the memory care unit, who require more frequent care and cannot be left alone in their rooms. Despite these challenges, Blizard said the community is finding ways to keep residents connected, including hallway activities in the main facility.

“The residents stay six feet apart and usually just stand in their doorways, and they’ll do an exercise class, hallway bingo and they have a happy hour cart that goes around with ice cream or drinks,” Blizard said. “They have music performers come every once in while outside, and the residents go outside on their balcony, listening to the entertainer for the afternoon.”

Written by: Madeleine Payne — city@theaggie.org