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Eight residents at Visalia nursing home have died of COVID-19


VISALIA, Calif. (KGPE) — ​The company hired by the Redwood Springs Healthcare Center in Visalia confirmed Tuesday two more residents have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths at the facility to eight.

The Redwood Springs Healthcare Center is in the process of testing everyone at the facility ​and the results show that the positive cases account for half of the cases in Tulare County.​

“We’ve just been terrified because we knew that they were going to get it, most of the people would probably end up with it,” said ​Misty Chandler, whose 85-year-old grandmother was a resident at the facility and recently passed away from COVID-19.

Bonnie Vantassel was transported out of the Redwood Springs Healthcare Facility to Kaweah Delta Medical Center, where Misty says she tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“The pulmonologist there basically said that he’s not expecting her to make it from this because it took Redwood Springs too long to get her the treatment she needed.”

Bonnie is one of eight residents who have passed away as a result of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, Tulare County Health and Human Services say 106 residents and 48 staff have been infected.

Due to a staffing shortage, the facility asked local hospitals and health care centers for support.

“We are also receiving staffing support from Tulare County and State Public Health along with two area hospitals, Kaweah Delta & Adventist. This collaborative effort will support our collective efforts to care for the well-being of everyone in our facility. We’re grateful to our dedicated team whose service and sacrifices enable us to fight this pandemic,” said Anita Hubbard, an administrator at Redwood Springs Healthcare Center through the PR company.

Director of Care Management at Kaweah Delta, Keri Noeske, says she asked staff for volunteers on Friday, and received an outpouring of support from nurses and others, who wanted to help the facility.

“Just the abundance of people that were immediately responding, knowing that there were so many positive patients over in this facility and still saying, ‘I want to go, I want to help.’ It was the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in healthcare,” said Noeske.

Noeske says the roughly 25 nurses who volunteered to help are bringing their own personal protective equipment provided by Kaweah Delta, but that Redwood Springs also has PPE for staff should they need something. They covered shifts over the weekend, which Noeske says helped relieve the staffing shortage. The nurses who volunteered are now on standby should there be another need for additional healthcare providers.

Noeske says Kaweah Delta checks in with Redwood Springs management daily to see how they can help contain the outbreak and care for residents and staff.

“Kaweah Delta is really proud of those nurses, those CNAs that said, yes, send me I can do this for our community. This community is really lucky to have those people here,” said Noeske.

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