Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center is located at 8170 Murray Ave. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

While 12 patients of a Gilroy nursing home have died with Covid-19 since this summer, the facility’s management says these deaths were unrelated to their decision in August to begin admitting infected patients to an on-site Covid Recovery Unit.

Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center staff addressed the recent revelations about the deaths and scores of coronavirus cases at the facility in an Oct. 16 message on its website. This summer, the facility—which is owned by Covenant Care—was granted authority to treat Covid-positive patients in an isolated wing of the Gilroy center, located at 8170 Murray Ave. The isolated CRU was subject to a “rigorous inspection” by Santa Clara County Public Health Department, according to Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation’s website.

A total of 32 patients with Covid-19 were admitted, recovered and later discharged from the Gilroy center’s CRU, reads the website. Covenant Care Regional Director Heidi Stone added that the Gilroy facility’s CRU wing is still open and equipped to admit Covid-19 patients, but there are not currently any such patients being treated there.

“We viewed the opening of a COVID Recovery Unit in keeping with our mission to serve our community, healthcare partners and, importantly, those in need of our specialized care,” reads the Oct. 16 post on Gilroy Healthcare and Rehab’s website.

The post adds that since the pandemic began in March, a total of 12 residents of Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at large—not within the CRU—have died with Covid-19. “We join their families in mourning the loss of their loved ones to this insidious virus,” reads the website post.

Seventy-five residents have tested positive for Covid-19, and 63 of these recovered within the Gilroy nursing home, according to the Oct. 16 post. Fifty-four staff members of Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation have tested positive for Covid-19, all of whom have recovered.

The center’s website post had a specific grievance with a television news report last week that “would lead its viewers to believe” the 12 deaths resulted from Covenant Care’s decision to open and operate a Covid Recovery Unit. “This is not true. Our first resident tested positive for Covid-19 in late June, and we did not admit our first CRU patient until six weeks later in early August,” reads the Gilroy center’s website.

The Gilroy center website noted that while it has cared for Covid-19 patients, they have followed all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control protocols and recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes establishing a separate entrance to the CRU, using designated staff and working in collaboration with public health officials.

The Oct. 16 Gilroy Healthcare and Rehab post said there are currently no active Covid-19 cases within its resident or staff populations.

Spread among nursing homes a nationwide concern

The spread and impact of Covid-19 within nursing homes and long-term care facilities has been a concern nationwide, as these facilities have seen disproportionately more severe cases and deaths than other populations.

In Santa Clara County, there have been 1,359 Covid-19 cases reported within 24 nursing homes, according to the county’s Covid-19 dashboard. These have led to 208 hospitalizations and 154 deaths since the pandemic started in March.

The Covid-19 death rate within long-term care facilities is substantially higher than that of the county’s population as a whole. As of Oct. 20, there have been a total of 23,355 Covid-19 cumulative cases throughout Santa Clara County, and 378 deaths.

The county’s dashboard, as of Oct. 20, states there have been 18 Covid-19 cases within Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation residents in the last 28 days, and less than 11 cases among staff.

Pacific Hills Manor—a Covenant Care facility located in Morgan Hill—has had zero Covid-19 cases reported among residents in the last 28 days, and less than 11 among staff in the same period.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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