A COVID-19 outbreak at a Santa Maria skilled nursing facility had affected 39 residents and 23 employees as of Wednesday.
The outbreak at the 55-bed facility — formerly the Santa Maria Care Center — means that 71 percent of the residents have tested positive if it was filled to capacity.
One resident’s relative driving away from the facility on Wednesday afternoon called the situation scary.
In total, the facility has reported 43 residents with positive COVID-19 tests, according to the California Department of Public Health, which seems to lag in data status.
By comparison, the 57-bed Country Oaks Care Center on East Chapel Street in Santa Maria, had a previous significant outbreak with 29 cumulative positive results for residents and 22 cumulative employee cases. Public Health reported 12 resident deaths and zero employee deaths.
As of Wednesday, based on data provided by the skilled nursing facilities, county public health officials noted three other current outbreaks.
Mission Terrace Santa Barbara on West Junipero Street has fewer than 10 residents with positive cases and zero employees.
Outbreaks at Marian Extended Care on East Church Street in Santa Maria and the Valle Verde Health Facility on Calle De Los Amigos in Santa Barbara have involved 10 or fewer employees and no residents.
Public health officials were in the midst of investigating the outbreaks at all four locations.
The county has had dozens of cases connected to outbreaks at congregate-living facilities, including skilled nursing homes, assisted living communities and the county Main Jail near Santa Barbara.
These types of care centers are very vulnerable to outbreaks, and just one positive case will prompt mass testing and staffing assistance from the county and state, according to public health officials.
In addition to the 12 deaths reported at Country Oaks Care Center, resident deaths have been reported at Buena Vista Care Center in Santa Barbara, the Lompoc Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Alto Lucero Transitional Care (also known as Channel Islands Post Acute) in Santa Barbara, Marian Extended Care in Santa Maria and the Valle Verde Health Facility in Santa Barbara.
State and county public health officials do not disclose the number of deaths, nor positive cases for either residents and employees, unless they exceed 10 during a specific outbreak, so deaths are reported as “less than 11” for the above facilities.