Officials: Shasta County nursing home COVID-19 outbreak mainly due to healthcare workers

A coronavirus outbreak at a skilled nursing facility is primarily coming from its own healthcare workers, Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom said Wednesday. 

County officials didn’t name the facility directly but directed reporters to a California Department of Public Health database, which shows Windsor Redding Care Center has reported 36 infections among its residents.

The previous day, Ramstrom told the Shasta County Board of Supervisors that 34 residents and eight employees have tested positive at a local facility since since Aug. 27. 

County health officials could not say whether there have been deaths at the facility, saying that information would have  to come from the business itself. When a reporter called the care center, a worker said the facility is not giving out any information. 

In a news conference Wednesday, Ramstrom went into more detail about how the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency is working to address the nursing facility outbreak. 

Ramstrom said the staff is being tested regularly so officials can catch potential asymptomatic spreaders. She said no visitors have been allowed into the facility. 

Ramstrom said it’s possible that residents could go out for an appointment and bring the virus back if infected, but she said most of the cases officials have identified in screening and testing have been among healthcare workers. 

Ramstrom said Shasta County health officials have been working with state officials to mitigate spread within the facility, discuss gaps in personal protective equipment and staff the site. 

“They have actually sent some staff to help offset some of their staffing shortages that are a result of this outbreak,” Ramstrom said. “So they’re assisting in a variety of ways.”

County officials have cited an “uptick” of cases in recent days. Since Sept. 14, the county has gone from 645 to 724 reported cases. 

Ramstrom said much of that increase is due to the outbreak at the nursing facility and students returning to school. 

“Our cases kind of go up and down a little bit each day, but those (two situations) are accounting for the larger increase that we’ve seen in recent days,” she said. 

County health officials continue to urge people to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, stay home when sick and wash their hands frequently, especially for those living close to others or working with vulnerable people. 

Matt Brannon covers politics, the criminal justice system and breaking news for the Record Searchlight. Follow him on Twitter @MattBrannon_RS. Support local coverage and keep up with the North State for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today. 

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