The Cottages Of Carmel is the latest assisted living facility on the Monterey Peninsula to be inundated with COVID-19 cases. Alton Mendleson, the executive director, sent out a message to residents and their families that they recently doubled the number of positives from eight to 16. “If you did not hear from us today, then your loved one had a negative test result,” said Mendleson. In addition to the residents, 10 workers have been infected and one is isolated at home with symptoms, but hasn’t been tested yet. The facility had been coronavirus free until November.
The number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes across the nation are exploding, and both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties have been no exception. Despite federal efforts to shield residents through aggressive testing and visitor restrictions, these don’t appear to be working. Federal data shows that there were 10,279 COVID-19 cases during the week of November, the last week the data has been reported. The number surpassed the previous record of 9,903 cases in late July, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “We have been begging people the last eight months to wear a mask, socially distance and be careful,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Unfortunately, the public has not listened and or complied. Please, be safe!
In the September 20 AARP Bulletin, one member wrote in and said that her parents have become less mobile and more forgetful since isolation began and said, “I know nursing homes are scary places right now. What about assisted living?” You may not have that option, AARP responds. About a third of senior living communities are not taking new residents due to the coronavirus. And even if you could find one, AARP writes that they would hesitate. Many have no trained medical staff, and are regulated loosely. And the very activities that once made them attractive—social activities, communal dining, and field trips—have been suspended. AARP Bulletin recommends in-home help, including guided exercise and physical therapy. They also said to consider ramping up online video visits to keep them interactive with the family.