State sending 600 nurses, medical supplies to nursing homes, assisted living centers struggling with COVID-19

Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California saw its first daily decrease in intensive care hospitalizations during the coronavirus outbreak, during his daily news briefing at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Thursday, April 9, 2020. Newsom announced that California saw its first daily decrease in intensive care hospitalizations during the coronavirus outbreak, a key indicator of how many health care workers and medical supplies are needed. He went on to say the state’s hospitals have thousands of ventilators available should the number of the sickest patients suddenly surge. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

SACRAMENTO (KGET) – Gov. Gavin Newsom today outlined steps California is taking to protect the residents and employees at nursing and residential care facilities.

Building on the state’s early action to protect these facilities, Newsom said the state is deploying 600 nurses to support compliance with COVID-19 guidance and state staff is calling nursing homes across the state daily to provide support.

“Protecting California’s most vulnerable residents and the employees is a top priority – not only to protect public health but because it’s the right thing to do,” Newsom said. “Older Californians and those who are medically fragile are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, which is why we took early action to restrict visitors to these facilities. Now we are providing even more support for these facilities, their residents, and staff who serve them.”

Recognizing the threat to these medically fragile individuals, the state last month restricted visitors to nursing and residential care facilities except for end-of-life and other rare circumstances.

The Governor also announced today that the USNS Mercy will be taking non-COVID-19 patients to help decompress skilled nursing facilities in the Los Angeles area. 

To further protect vulnerable Californians, California is:

  • Working to decompress facilities to help slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in these facilities and create facilities specifically for positive patients
  • Reaching out proactively to each skilled nursing facility on a daily basis to assess their specific needs and identify and address any challenges early on
  • Prioritizing testing for patients discharged from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility to ensure patients who test positive are transferred to a facility that can safely provide care to the residents and also protect COVID-19 negative residents. California will also prioritize the testing of symptomatic residents and potentially exposed residents to ensure they are immediately isolated
  • Prioritizing personal protective equipment to facilities with COVID-19 positive staff or residents and facilities that are at increased risk to COVID-19
  • Providing stipends to certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses and other critical staff at nursing homes to make sure their needs are met. A previously announced Facebook donation of up to $25 million available to provide $500 stipends to up to 50,000 nursing home workers
  • Offering no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms for workers who have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and do not need to be hospitalized
  • Ensuring that families of nursing home residents are informed and educated on COVID-19 safety protections for their loved ones.

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