Coronavirus: Residents at Palo Alto senior living communities test positive

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By MAGGIE ANGST | | The Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

Three residents across two separate senior living communities in Palo Alto have tested positive for COVID-19, representatives from the facilities said.

The Vi in Palo Alto, located on Sand Hill Road near the Stanford Shopping Center, said in a statement that two residents had confirmed cases of the disease. The spokesperson for the company declined to disclose any additional information, citing the residents’ privacy.

Lytton Gardens, an independent living affordable housing community in the Arbors neighborhood of Palo Alto, confirmed in a statement that a resident has been quarantined in his apartment after testing positive to the potentially fatal disease.

On March 11, the resident reported difficulty breathing and was taken to the hospital for coronavirus testing. The resident was then told to go home and remain in isolation, according to a statement from Covia Communities, which owns the community.

One week later, on March 18, the resident’s son informed administrators at the senior living community that the resident had tested positive for the disease. The administrator immediately reported the case to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and began putting the agency’s recommendations into effect, according to the statement.

The resident apparently did not have any other contact with any residents and staff had not been into his apartment since he was quarantined on March 11, the statement said.

“We continue to take all available steps to control the spread of infection, based on the recommendations of the Department of Public Health and our own best practices for infection control and prevention,” Covia said in a statement, noting additional deep cleaning routines and staff requirements to wear protective gear.

The potential for the spread of the disease in senior living communities is particularly concerning as people 65 years and older are at an elevated risk for severe illness if they are infected with the coronavirus.

Most nursing homes and senior living facilities across the country are now following new guidelines set by the Centers of Disease Control, including banning visitors, reducing or halting group activities and programs,  extra sanitizing and regularly checking the temperatures of residents and staff.

This is not the first case confirmed at a senior living community in the Bay Area.

Five residents at Atria Assisted Living and Memory Care in Burlingame have tested positive for the disease, as well as a resident at Silver Oaks Memory Care in Menlo Park. A staffer also tested positive at the Forum in Cupertino. Results are pending for another resident at the Atria facility in Burlingame, and all six residents have been hospitalized.

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Maggie Angst | Peninsula reporter 

Maggie Angst covers government on the Peninsula for The Mercury News. She’s a Chicago native and previously covered breaking news for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and education for the Island Packet in Hilton Head, Follow Maggie Angst @MaggieAngst