nursing homes

Community Medical Centers

 

Like in so many places across the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic crept up on the San Joaquin Valley. Some of the region’s first official cases were linked to outbreaks on cruise ships that came into port in March, but as we later learned, the virus was already circulating long beforehand.

Courtesy of John C. Fremont Healthcare District

Residents and staff of the long-term nursing home at the John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa County received their first round of the COVID-19 vaccine on December 17th. As they wait for the second round, many people in the facility say they are thrilled to have the protection they need to fight the virus. 

 

The facility is home to 17 residents over 70 years old making them high risk candidates for contracting COVID-19. 73 year old Patricia Wildt says it feels like a privilege to be one of the first in the county to get the vaccine. 

 

California Department of Public Health

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.

Fresno State

Nursing facilities have been hit hard by coronavirus outbreaks, and have changed visitor policies to reduce the spread of the disease. So how can older adults still maintain social connections? 

Helen Miltiades, director of Fresno State’s Gerontology Program, says families are visiting their older relatives at nursing homes by standing outside and waving at them through the safety of a window. 

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency Website

The majority of the 25 Coronavirus deaths in Tulare County are due to an outbreak at a Visalia nursing home. In fact, nearly half of the county’s 441 COVID-19 cases are nursing home related.

Garry Knight / Creative Commons Flickr

California’s population is projected to age rapidly in the coming decades. By the year 2030, adults over 65 will outnumber children under 18, according to data from the state’s department of finance. Today, seniors over 65 make up 14 percent of the population, but that number will increase to 23 percent over the next 11 years. And as the population ages, issues like elder abuse are becoming more common.