COVID outbreak at Seal Beach nursing home grows

17 deaths since May

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his public domain illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Artwork by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

The novel coronavirus outbreak at the only skilled nursing facility in Seal Beach continues to grow. Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation has recorded 17 deaths of people with COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late May.

SBHR has had 126 patients and 104 health care workers infected, according to numbers posted by the City of Seal Beach on July 7. The city reported 16 deaths on that date. However, the correct figure is 17, according to a July 8 email from District Two Councilman Thomas Moore. “The SBHRC administrator contacted the Orange County Health Care Agency and confirmed that the accurate number of COVID-19 related deaths from their facility is 17. This number is reported to the SNF from the OCHCA and the hospital where the patient was admitted prior to their death. The number of COVID-19 related deaths on the state SNF website of 18 is incorrect – which is not surprising as these numbers seem to fluctuate up and down every time they are updated,” Moore wrote.

Moore reported that only 21 residents remained quarantined.

SBHR has also been posting updates on its website reporting results of coronavirus testing. A post from July 7 reported new COVID-19 infections of one resident and one staff member. Posts from Sunday and Monday reported a total of seven new cases among staff.

“All COVID positive residents are properly cohorted in a designated and isolated part of the facility. And, positive staff members are self-quarantining at home or working on the COVID unit,” SBHR wrote in its posts. The facility said it is taking cautionary measures, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and working with public health officials from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

According to its website, SBHR has 186 beds and serves permanent residents as well as patients staying temporarily for rehabilitation.

“We were informed that many of the remaining patients that were not infected were moved to be quarantined at home with family and there are only about 140 overall patients left at the facility,” District Two Councilman Thomas Moore wrote in a newsletter emailed Tuesday evening. The facility on North Gate Road is located in Moore’s district. 

Moore also wrote that the county has dispatched nursing staff to the facility to “mitigate the circumstances” and noted the city continues to reach out to offer assistance.

In response to a list of questions about the outbreak at SBHR, the county issued this statement on June 24:

“We do not comment regarding details of particular facilities, however, OC Health Care Agency (HCA) considers response to outbreaks in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) as an extremely high priority. HCA has a dedicated outbreak response team for such facilities. The team responds when cases are identified in SNFs and provides infection control guidance and assistance in laboratory testing and monitoring of the outbreak. In addition to the outbreak response team, HCA has a contract with Infection Preventionists to also work closely with facilities, as needed, to support the SNF response. Our efforts are directed at preventing [the] spread of COVID-19 within the facility and protecting both residents and staff.”