Rehab

Caution tape blocks off the front entrance to Santa Rita Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Green Valley on Thursday.

Santa Rita Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has four patients who have or are presumed to have coronavirus and has discharged most of its sub-acute (rehab) patients for safety reasons.

There also are two staff members who tested positive and are recovering at home.

Carl Zimmerman, a managing partner at Santa Rita, said Saturday they have one confirmed case and three presumptive patient cases in the sub-acute wing. About 50 patients were discharged; two without the virus will remain in skilled nursing until they are well enough to be discharged. They are isolated from those with the virus.

The one positive cases started showing signs after entering the facility and had no interaction with other patients. He said they don't believe the virus was contracted at Santa Rita but it's difficult to determine.

The Green Valley facility has about 25 long-term residents and 16 in a behavioral care unit who are in a different wing, isolated from those with COVID-19, he said.

Amy Malkin, chief operating officer, said Thursday the facility near Esperanza and La Canada has not accepted new admissions for two weeks because of the international coronavirus outbreak.

She said they will take at least the next two weeks to focus “on the residents who call Santa Rita home.”

Zimmerman said they made the decision to discharge sub-acute patients for the patients' safety and to avoid what other nursing facilities have gone through nationwide as the virus swept through.

“If they are safe to go home, it’s our belief that’s where they are the safest,” he said.

He said any employee showing symptoms will be tested for the virus. He said the lack of tests prevents them from testing everybody. "There just aren't enough to go around," he said.

Zimmerman said no employees will be laid off and none will miss a paycheck whether at work or not.

“We’re making the commitment, even though we’re reducing our census (patient load), to keep every employee on,” he said.

Employees will likely be asked to take sick and vacation time first but then will receive a regular check after that. He estimated the decision could cost $1 million every two weeks.

He said the policy will remain in effect “as long as it takes. We just can’t do this to our employees.”

Zimmerman said it’s highly likely the center will be close longer than two weeks.

Meanwhile, visitors haven’t been allowed at the facility since March 13, in compliance with a federal order.

“We are keeping residents connected to their families via Skype and Facebook,” Malkin said. “We are doing televisits with their physicians and nurse practitioner.”