9 dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Watsonville nursing facility

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) - In Santa Cruz, half of all deaths related to COVID-19 have occurred at a skilled nursing facility in Watsonville.  

Nine people have died at the facility and the California National Guard has been called in to help.

Another five deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths to nine since an outbreak of COVID-19 surfaced three weeks ago at the Watsonville Post-Acute Nursing Facility.

So far, 46 residents and 15 staff at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19.  

Protocols on isolation, quarantine, testing and screening are being reviewed and stepped up.

The facility is locked down. Jim Borrego shared parts of his phone conversation with a resident he usually takes for a walk each day.

The National Guard was called in to back up staff members who are self isolating. 

Although the overall rate of infection is falling in Santa Cruz County, Watsonville Post-Acute accounts for 9 of the 19 deaths so far.  

Bottom line: Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are still at an elevated risk due to the vulnerable population in congregate living settings.

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