Five Dead, 136 infected, in Coronavirus Outbreak at SB Nursing Facility

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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

Five residents have died and 136 people have been infected in a coronavirus outbreak at the only skilled nursing facility in Seal Beach.

Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation (SBHR) has had 80 of its residents and 56 of its health care workers test positive for coronavirus, according to numbers posted by the City of Seal Beach on June 17.

Seal Beach is getting updated numbers daily from SBHR so its case count may differ from figures on the Orange County Health Care Agency’s website or the State of California’s website tracking cases at skilled nursing facilities.

The outbreak at the facility on North Gate Road started on May 23 after one resident and one staff member tested positive for coronavirus, according to a June 11 press release from the Seal Beach Police Department.

In response, county health officials conducted a “whole house testing” of all residents and staff resulting in a spike in reported coronavirus cases last week. On June 9, Seal Beach had 28 reported cases according to OCHCA. The next day, the case count was 57.

“While Covid19 has affected the staffing of our facility, rest assured we are committed to protecting the well-being and safety of our residents and ensuring that every individual is receiving exceptional care and attention during this time,” Matthew Lysobey, administrator at SBHR, wrote in an email to The Sun.

Lysobey wrote that the facility is working with public health officials and is monitoring all staff members and residents for any signs and symptoms. “All necessary safety and infection control protocols have been implemented,” he wrote.

On its website, SBHR maintains only staff, essential vendors and compassionate hospice care visits are permitted at this time and anyone entering the facility is screened for symptoms.

Since May 25, the nursing facility has been updating a timeline on its website when infections are confirmed.

An update on June 15 stated five additional staff members and one resident had tested positive for coronavirus and noted: “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.”

“Since the outbreak began, the City has been working with Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation along with the county to ensure the health care workers and residents of the facility obtain weekly testing and COVID-19 tracing to stop the spread outside of the facility,” SBPD Chief Phil Gonshak said in a phone interview.

Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation is a 186-bed facility that’s been operating for more than 50 years, according to its website. The Sun was not able to determine how many patients are currently at the facility, but it appears to house permanent residents while other patients may only stay there temporarily.

SBHR is not unique in its fight to contain coronavirus. Statewide, skilled nursing facilities have been hot spots for outbreaks accounting for more than 18,300 cases in the state.

So far more than 2,200 reported coronavirus deaths in California are among residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities.

Out of Orange County’s 243 COVID-19 deaths, 124 have been residents at skilled nursing facilities. Cases among SNF residents represent 1,003 of the 9,197 reported infections countywide.

“My heart goes out to those that are there and their families,” Seal Beach City Councilman Thomas Moore wrote in an email. SBHR is located in his district. “I know that the City and the Police department especially is doing everything they can to help out.”