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Piner's Nursing Home copes with 2 staff testing positive for COVID-19
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Piner's Nursing Home copes with 2 staff testing positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus update COVID

Napa County’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in a skilled nursing facility turned up two weeks ago at Piner’s Nursing Home in Napa, administrator Brian Kallio reported Friday.

Kallio said the two staff members were asymptomatic and had no idea that they had the COVID virus until Piner’s teamed up with the Napa County Health Department to do proactive testing.

“We caught two staff members who came back positive, but were asymptomatic,” said Kallio. “They had no cough, no fever, no shortness of breath.”

The two staff members were immediately sent home and the residents with whom they had had contact were congregated in a wing of Piner’s where they were cared for by staff in full protective gear, Kallio said.

A week ago Friday, all staff members and residents at Piner’s — 135 people — were again tested and none were positive, Kallio said. Another round of testing was begun Friday and will be finished Monday to make sure that there are no additional cases, he said.

“I’d consider this a success story. To head this thing off, you have to be so careful who contacts who,” Kallio said.

Nationally, skilled nursing facilities that take care of the elderly and sick have been clobbered by COVID-19, which is why Piner’s was eager to have 100% of staff and residents tested and then retested, Kallio said.

On Friday, Napa County reported on its website that an unnamed local skilled nursing facility was taking “aggressive measures” to prevent spread after a single case was discovered earlier.

The Register requested additional information from the county early Friday afternoon, but none was immediately provided.

The identity of the nursing home surfaced from a reader’s tip. When contacted, Kallio said his facility had two cases, not the one that Napa County was reporting.

The county said the one case was discovered through surveillance testing of staff and residents at an unnamed facility, which is part of the proactive strategy for preventing major outbreaks.

The discovery of even one case at an institutional or congregate setting is treated as a COVID-19 “outbreak” because of the risk of spread, the county said.

Kallio said his staff was “taking every precaution possible” until the results from the third round of testing are known. Staff wears gloves, gowns, N-95 masks and other recommended gear when caring for those who had contact with the two documented staff cases.

Both staff members are still at home, without symptoms, Kallio said. He did not know how they contracted the virus, he said.

The total of confirmed Napa County cases remained at 111 on Friday. There have been three deaths and 82 patients have recovered. No COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, the county said.

The county reports 8,683 tests administered so far, with 8,515 coming back negative; 57 are still awaiting results.

The county is encouraging residents to be tested for coronavirus, particularly anyone at risk of exposure out in the community.

Testing is now available to all county residents over age 18, but appointments are required. To complete a screening and schedule a test, visit countyofnapa.org/2776/COVID-19-Testing.

The bulk of cases in Napa County are in the city of Napa, with 73 cases, and the unincorporated areas east of the city, with 6. American Canyon has seen 18 cases.

Statewide, there have been 104,109 confirmed cases, with 3,996 deaths. Nationally, there have been more than 1.7 million cases, with just over 102,000 deaths.

Editor’s Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.

You can reach City Editor Kevin Courtney at kcourtney@napanews.com or at 707-256-2217.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.

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