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I-Team: What you need to know before visiting a nursing facility

The mandate from the state that all health care workers get vaccinated by September 30th, including those working in nursing facilities, has some scrambling to meet the deadline.     

Some are concerned they’re going to lose a portion of their workforce, while others are ahead of the mandate, already implementing the new rules.    

I-team reporter Karen Devine masked up, showed proof of vaccination and her driver’s license to gain entry into Vista Cove Rancho Mirage, a memory care facility.     

Since March of 2020 Covid protocol has changed often and at Vista Cove they’ve continued to follow CDC guidelines to keep staff and residents safe.     

Gerry Neighbors, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Vista Cove Rancho Mirage told Devine, “All of our workers that work here wear masks no matter what they're doing all the time. Everyone that works here is vaccinated as well as has our TB screening to be protected, protecting our residents. All of our residents have had their Covid shots as well.”     

Vista Cove is a 56 bed facility with a sprawling outdoor area where visitors can spend time with residents, but to engage, physical distancing and masks on are still required.     

 When inside designated visitation rooms, those vaccinated and in a one on one situation can remove their mask. And if you’re not vaccinated?    

"So non vaccinated people are not allowed into our buildings as of now. We want them to be able to see their loved ones, their friend, but they have to come outside to visit them. Be 6 foot apart from each other and no touching at all. And, also be 6 feet away from our caretakers," said Neighbors.

According to the California Department of Public Health, to date there have been 13,078 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in California nursing homes. That's 20% of the number of deaths statewide due to COVID.     

Nursing homes have been a tragic focal point of the pandemic. Some of the early panic spilled into our valley when vulnerable residents exposed to the virus at a Riverside nursing home were relocated to manor care in palm desert in April of 2020.     

More than a year later, protocols are in place if someone tests positive and with staff and residents vaccinated,  activities will continue at vista cove under the latest CDC guidelines.    

"We're all functioning as best we can within our bubble, you know, by all being safely vaccinated, and we all make sure that we are taking the appropriate precautions within our residence that we feel comfortable," Neighbors told Devine.

In 2020 Vista Cove had a Covid outbreak but according to the CEO, there have been no deaths attributed to the virus.   

The CEO also telling Devine they will not hire health care workers who are not vaccinated. 

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Karen Devine

Karen Devine is celebrating her 29th year delivering the local news as an anchor and reporter in the Palm Springs television market. Learn more about Karen here.

KESQ News Team


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