KEY POINTS

  • At least 50 residents and six staff members at Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation tested positive for the coronavirus
  • The facility has been closed to visitors and new admissions two weeks ago on account of Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order
  • An 89-year-old woman, the first one to test positive in the hospital, had died last week

At least 50 patients and six staff members at a nursing home in California were infected with the coronavirus, while two of them died, San Bernardino County public health officials said Tuesday. One of the dead people was an 89-year-old woman with underlying health problems.

Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation in Yucaipa, San Bernardino County, is now bracing for a spike in numbers of positive cases among its residents. The nursing home, located east of Los Angeles, has been closed to visitors and admissions in a response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order issued on March 16.

Seventy-nine specimens were collected from the patients and staff to assess the scenario, among which there are still some waiting to be processed, San Bernardino Sun reported Trudy Raymundo, the county’s public health director, as saying. “But we have talked to the folks at Cedar Mountain and we have let them know to assume at this point that everyone is positive and to take appropriate measures.”

On March 26, Redlands Community Hospital asked the county public health workers to test a patient coming from the nursing home. The county notified the nursing home authority to close the facility to admissions and discharges, according to Raymundo. The 89-year-old patient, who had tested positive, died later that day. Three more tests from the nursing home came back positive the following day.

Newsom earlier said at least half of the state’s 40 million population was susceptible to the coronavirus infection. California has been scrambling to add 50,000 hospital beds on top of its 75,000 to help treat all potential COVID-19 patients amid a possible worst-case scenario. Health officials have warned of a rapid increase in cases as testing ramps up.

As many as 189,633 cases were reported as of Wednesday in the U.S. and 4,081 total deaths of which California accounted for 54, according to Johns Hopkins website. Total positive cases in California as of Tuesday were 8,384.

A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Hansen Dam Park in Pacoima, California A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Hansen Dam Park in Pacoima, California Photo: AFP / Frederic J. BROWN