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COVID-19 outbreak at Palo Alto's Channing House underscores dangers despite precautions against virus

Original post made on Oct 7, 2020

As health leaders warn of a possibly dangerous fall and winter that could lead to new COVID-19 cases, recent outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Palo Alto show the difficulty in controlling the virus.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 4:43 PM

Comments (5)

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

They need to test more frequently. My daughter is a physician at Stanford and she is tested twice a week.

How about protective gear? Are people wearing masks? Do the staff have shields?

There are easy and inexpensive things that we can do to reduce the spread.


Posted by A Channing family member
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2020 at 1:16 pm

A Channing family member is a registered user.

My mother is a resident in Assisted Living in Channing. She has not tested positive, but obviously the COVID cases are a real concern.

But it's also important to give credit where credit is due. I can not imagine what Channing could do that they are not already doing. As the story notes, once the first COVID case was identified, all of the residents and all of the staff in both Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing have been tested on a weekly basis (this is a county health requirement).

The story does not mention that all of the Channing staff are wearing various forms of PPE all the time and that after the first COVID case was identified, all staff in the medical center have been wearing full PPE all the time (an N95 mask plus a face shield, gloves and full body gowns). The story also does not mention that many of the COVID positive cases were identified only through testing; the resident or staff member was completely asymptomatic. Finally, the story does not mention that the staff tending to the COVID positive residents are voluntarily isolating, living physically separate from their families and anyone else for as long as necessary.

I know the Channing staff and residents are heartbroken that, despite their best efforts, some of the residents have gotten sick. It seems clear that the current outbreak was probably all due to a single, asymptomatic spreader. And after that, Channing worked overtime to contain the problem and to protect all the rest of the residents and staff.

As the White House has demonstrated, testing alone is not enough nor does it create an effective barrier by itself. Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep socially distant! And remember that COVID is a wolf constantly lurking at the door, looking for any opening to get in.


Posted by Alvin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 8, 2020 at 6:29 pm

Alvin is a registered user.

No mention if any of the "positives" have symptoms, were hospitalized, or in ICUs, I wonder why?

At my mom's senior care home, none of the residents are tested, the staff haven't been tested in months, nobody wears a mask including visitors, visitations are same as before Covid, and everybody is fine. If you don't go looking for something that doesn't exist except in trace amounts, you won't find it. If you allow seniors to live normal lives, maybe depression and feeling of isolation won't set in and harm their mental and physical health?


Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I'm a little confused. Certainly Channing knows all the employees and caregivers who come into the facility. I assume they can trace all their outside contacts, family and friends for sure, and visitors who might have come for a final visit before death of a patient. Can someone who is asymptomatic test negative? And still carry and spread the disease? I have known and still know many residents who went to Channing, enjoyed the many benefits they offer, and knew that it would be their last place of residence on earth. Prayers to all family members of those who have died, for the people who still live there, and for the workers who still take care of them.


Posted by Marie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I will be joining Channing House next year. Their stellar treatment of their covid-19 outbreak encourages me to do so. While there was an asymptomatic positive earlier in the year, all who tested positive in this outbreak have had symptoms, patients and staff alike. A few were presymptomatic - ie had no symptoms at the time of the test, but developed them later. Several were hospitalized. Fortunately, this outbreak was limited to the Assisted Living wing. Strict protocols meant no one in skilled nursing or independent living shared staff with assisted living and no one else was infected. Because of their strict protocols, I have no hesitation to moving into Channing House/

Covid19 is serious, it is real and those of us who are most at risk, need to be far more careful than younger people. Those of us who are so vulnerable, need to test regularly, avoid large gatherings, avoid travel and wear masks, even when it is ok for younger, healthier people to reduce precautions. The consequences for us are grave. One article claimed 80% of those who have died are over 70.

Three Stanford researchers just recommended opening up faster and tolerating a higher rate of covid19. While I disagree with that tolerance, it is notable that they also accompanied this by saying it was very important to protect the most vulnerable. And that is the part that is missing as we reopen - yes for children and healthy adults. But we who are older or have auto immune disease, cannot reopen without a lot of preventable deaths. I am not afraid of death - but let it come naturally, not from a preventable infectious disease, in isolation with no comfort from families and friends. I also get flu shots. While not as deadly as covid19, it is still deadly.


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