Increased testing discovers more residents with COVID-19 at Laguna Honda Hospital

Outbreak has spread beyond unit where it was first discovered, but no deaths have occurred

An increase in COVID-19 testing at Laguna Honda Hospital found the virus has spread to other areas of the Department of Public Health’s skilled-nursing facility since an outbreak was first detected in March, officials said Tuesday.

The number of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Laguna Honda Hospital has increased to 11 while staff who tested positive are 18, bringing the total cases to 29.

Prior to May, there were five patients who tested positive for COVID-19, all from the South 5 unit of the hospital, where the outbreak was first detected in the hospital back in March.

As The City had expanded testing to all patients and staff beginning on May 4, there were five additional patients who tested positive for COVID-19 this past weekend and one on May 9, which brought the total number of patients to 11.

These six newly diagnosed patients were in different areas of the hospital from where the first outbreak of the virus was detected in the South 5 unit. One was receiving care in North 4 and five in South 2.

“The one N4 case was found through universal testing and contact investigation is well underway,” Zoe Harris, a spokesperson for Laguna Honda Hospital, told the San Francisco Examiner in an email. “N4 is under quarantine and all residents and staff are being retested.”

“We do not anticipate an outbreak but are responding swiftly and out of an abundance of caution,” Harris added.

Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, addressed some of the new cases during a press conference Tuesday.

He described the newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases in South 2 as a “small outbreak,” which was discovered through universal testing and case investigation.

“We were able to identify four positive cases of residents who had tested negative before,” Colfax said. He added, “We have quarantined South 2 and continue to monitor, test and investigate contacts.”

The hospital has turned South 5 into a designated COVID-19 unit, where patients who test positive are relocated.

Colfax said that the facility as of Monday has tested 718 residents and 1,369 staff out of the approximate 2,500 staff and residents at the hospital since it began with the effort to test everyone who lives and works there, known as universal testing, on May 4.

No one has died at Laguna Honda since the outbreak in late March.

The five patients who had initially tested positive from the South 5 unit have since recovered and are no longer considered active cases. The remaining six patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are in “good condition,” according to Harris.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deems a person recovered from COVID-19 upon two consecutive negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart.

Of the 18 staff who tested positive, 12 of whom work in patient-care positions, 13 have recovered from COVID-19 and “five are in good condition, isolating at home,” Harris said.

Colfax said as testing and contact investigation continues at the hospital he expects more cases.

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