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Nursing Homes Remain COVID-19 Hotbeds - Virus Update For Aug. 17-21

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California Department of Public Health
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A snapshot from the state's Skilled Nursing Facility dashboard taken on August 21, 2020. Cases and fatalities within nursing homes have not tracked with statewide trends, but outbreaks in those facilities have not yet been contained.

California’s COVID-19 pandemic has evolved tremendously since it began in March, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that residents of skilled nursing facilities remain particularly at risk of severe infection and death. Although COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities account for only 3 percent of the state’s overall caseload, almost 20 percent of the state’s deaths have occurred among these vulnerable residents.

This week’s COVID-19 update explores the impacts of the virus on nursing homes both statewide and in our area, featuring excerpts from an interview with Kristof Stremikis, director of market analysis for the California Health Care Foundation. We also provide an update on the new ICU nurses being hired by hospitals in Kern County and explain why health officials are taking time out of their COVID-19 messaging to urge the public to get their flu shots. 

Here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication): 

As of August 20: 

For comparison, as of August 13: 

  • 796 deaths out of 71,119 cases
  • 701 people hospitalized and 169 in ICUs
  • In the last week, 121 people succumbed to the disease
  • Average cases reported daily in the last week: 1,539

You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
Kathleen Schock is the host of Valley Edition. In the show, Kathleen and the Valley Public Radio news team explore issues that matter to the residents of Central California through engaging conversations and in-depth reporting.
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