Testing and re-testing continues at Laguna Honda as total cases increase to 16

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By Joshua Sabatini San Francisco Examiner Apr. 6, 2020

Last week, the total number of diagnosed coronavirus cases at Laguna Honda, The City’s long-term care facility, was 12, including ten staff members and two residents.

But over the weekend, four more cases were confirmed, Dr. Grant Colfax , head of the Department of Public Health said Monday.

The four new cases were from one of two impacted patient care units known as the South 5 neighborhood. Two are residents of South 5 and two are patient caregivers.

“To date 290 staff have been tested, either directly by DPH or their own provider,” Colfax said at a press conference with Mayor London Breed. “Ninety-eight patients at Laguna Hospital have been tested.”

Colfax said that over the weekend “we completed retesting of all patients of the South 5 neighborhood” and the results are pending and that “the retesting of South 5 staff is happening today.”

“We will also retest the staff and test all patients on South 4,” Colfax said, referring to the second impacted patient care unit. “To date South 4 has no residents who have tested positive for coronavirus though of course that situation could change.”

Colfax said that of the 16 who have tested positive, 14 “are in good condition” while two are in “fair condition” and were transported to “more acute hospitals.

Colfax said that the testing and retesting is being conducted upon the recommendation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials who he and Breed asked to provide assistance to address the outbreak. They had arrived at the campus last Sunday.

Asked to comment on the source of the outbreak, Colfax said in most skilled nursing facilities like Laguna Honda it was introduced by staff.

“Unfortunately one of the key factors is that people who work at the facility, despite their own efforts and others, unintentionally appear to be the source in many of these cases, if not all of these cases.”

He said that a number of measures are now in place such as limiting movement throughout the hospital to only “essential movement” and restricting access to the facility for staff to entrances where they are screened. He added there is “mandatory masking for all staff.”

The first resident of the hospital with more than 750 patients tested positive for Covid-19 on March 26, after six staff had previously tested positive for the respiratory illness.

The outbreak of the deadly virus at the long-term care facility had prompted Mayor London Breed to call on state and federal health officials for assistance with staffing and resources, such as for testing.

In San Francisco, there were 583 confirmed cases of Covid-19 Monday with 83 in hospitals across the city and about half in intensive care unit, Colfax said.