As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, many people are worried about their elderly relatives in nursing homes and senior care centers.
Health officials say older adults are at greater risk of severe illness from this coronavirus, just as they are from other respiratory illnesses like the influenza. The elderly often have chronic health issues, making them even more vulnerable to disease.
Bay Area nursing homes and senior service providers are responding to the risk of novel coronavirus by implementing emergency measures and consulting public health officials each day. Among the precautions, staff and clients are increasing hand washing, stockpiling protective equipment, canceling public events and screening all visitors, including vendors and family members, who have traveled internationally in recent weeks.
Health officials in Santa Clara County, which confirmed at least 20 coronavirus cases Thursday, have advised nursing homes to cancel gatherings like bingo or movie night, and to enhance screening measures generally. The advisory also noted that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team is onsite at the county’s Public Health Department.
George Han, the county’s Deputy Health Officer, said in a statement: “While many persons in our community may get sick, the vast majority will recover. The added measures are being used to protect those in our community who are likely at greatest risk for having severe disease.”