March 19, 2020
A total of 84 residents from a Riverside nursing home were evacuated to other healthcare locations across the county after employees failed to show up to care for COVID-19 patients on two consecutive days. Magnolia Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Riverside, California, had 39 known COVID-19 cases, including 34 among its residents, according to health officials.
Riverside University Health System and Kaiser Permanente sent 33 registered nurses to the 90-bed facility on Tuesday after only one of 13 registered nursing assistants went to work, officials said. But on Wednesday morning, the county’s public health officials made the emergency decision to evacuate the facility and move patients after noticing there was insufficient staff available.
One patient in hospice died Wednesday morning. Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside public health officer, said he was saddened by the turn of events at the nursing home and added that the reason why the employees failed to show up for work at the nursing home is yet to be determined.
Health officials also noted that the county prioritizes investigations into nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities because of the high risk of serious illness posed by outbreaks. Such facilities can be challenging due to residents’ ages and health conditions, and the close quarters they share.
“We need to make sure that people remain as much as possible. We have a large vulnerable population at any of our long-term care facilities, and we want to make sure those people are taken care of,” Kaiser said.
Of all the residents transported, 28 patients were transferred to the Federal Medical Station (established at the Indio Fairgrounds), 15 were transferred to a nursing facility in Palm Desert, 7 were transferred to the University of Riverside Health System Medical Center and 5 were transferred to local hospitals.
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