Increased Protections Ordered for Laguna Honda Residents and Staff

Department of Public Health Continues to Prioritize Vulnerable Populations in Coronavirus Response

The Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco today ordered a protective quarantine for the campus of Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. The order, which prohibits residents from leaving campus, strengthens previous protections for residents and staff. The order takes effect today at 5 p.m. and expires April 7.

From the beginning of the global outbreak, efforts by the City & County of San Francisco to prepare for the coronavirus have prioritized the most vulnerable members of the city’s population – people 60 and over and those with certain underlying health conditions. The residents of Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center (LHH) are in the most vulnerable groups.

Laguna Honda Hospital remains a top priority in the city’s response. Among the first orders issued by the city’s Health Officer was one purposefully and carefully designed to protect the institution, its residents and staff. Visitor access was restricted there on March 6, immediately after the first two cases in the city were identified the day before (3/5), and on the same day a local health emergency was declared. The order restricting visitors was extended on March 12 to last until April 21.

Laguna Honda leadership has worked actively and diligently to train staff on COVID-19 procedures, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), thorough cleaning of common spaces and resident rooms, and other prevention techniques.

Even before the Health Officer orders, Laguna Honda implemented the following measures to protect and prepare for the possibility of COVID- 19 circulating at Laguna Honda Hospital:

  • Restrict access to all non-essential personnel from entering the facility, including community groups, contractors and volunteers providing services that are not critical to resident care.
  • Initiate a screening process for visitors, staff and residents.
  • Improve infection control signage and provide specific COVID- 19 education to ensure everyone at LHH is adhering to proper infection control standards regarding hand hygiene and the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Last week, we learned of the first possible cases of COVID-19 among members of the Laguna Honda community. Currently, there are five members of the LHH staff with confirmed cases. Four of these five staff members worked in two units at the hospital, and one did not work in patient care and had no patient contact. Fifteen patients have been tested, and so far there are no positive cases. However, that could change as the contact investigations and testing continue and the virus continues to spread in the Bay Area.

We do not know whether the staff acquired COVID-19 at work, or in the community. We do know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted, especially in group settings, such as long-term care facilities and cruise ships.

At this time, 120 residents are quarantined in the South 4 and South 5 neighborhoods, where a total of four staff have tested positive for COVID-19. Monitoring of patients on both affected units has increased. Staff is also undergoing increased screening.

All staff are screened for symptoms of illness each time they start their shift.