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Santa Cruz County confirms first death at Santa Cruz Post Acute related to COVID-19 outbreak


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) -- County health officials have confirmed the first death at the Santa Cruz Post Acute center related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Health officials say this is the first death for the county and have identified the deceased as a woman in her 80s with underlying health issues.


Officials have confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at Santa Cruz Post Acute.

As of Monday, 29 residents and 9 staff members have tested positive. KION is told a "small number" of residents are hospitalized.

The first case was reported on November 7, and was caught because of surveillance testing.

“Once you see this level of community spread, it’s extraordinarily difficult to keep cases out of these kinds of facilities. That’s why it’s incumbent upon everyone to do what they can to keep the our local cases counts as low as possible,” says County Spokesman Jason Hoppin.

This is the 3rd congregate living facility that has experienced an outbreak in Santa Cruz County.

“Are you going to be that health care hero and show up? So far our teams done that,” Santa Cruz Post Acute administrator Rusty Greiner said.

Santa Cruz Post Acute is the biggest skilled nursing facility in Santa Cruz County. More than 100 people live there.

Greiner said since the first positive case was reported last week, the top priority is giving staff the resources to work safely.

“We got everyone complete protective suits to wear underneath their gowns, and require every staff member to wear an N95 mask," Greiner said. "Wearing PPE appropriately has been protecting them, and we don’t have any positive staff members working the floor."

Earlier this month, an outbreak hit the senior living facility Maple House II in Live Oak. As of Monday, there are 14 symptomatic residents and 10 staff members with COVID-19.

So far no one has died at either facility, but it was just last month when coronavirus spread rapidly through Watsonville Post Acute (which has no relation to Santa Cruz Post Acute). More than half of the residents contracted the virus and 16 died.

That's an outcome, Santa Cruz Post Acute is hoping to avoid.

“Listen, over communicate and be completely transparent...we need to unite together, and do the exact opposite of what COVID tends to do to people,” Greiner said.

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Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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