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Tucson nursing home confirms 85 COVID-19 cases among residents, staff

Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 01:29:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A Tucson nursing home has 85 confirmed cases of coronavirus among its residents and staff members.

Sapphire of Tucson, which is just south of Banner University Medical Center-South near Country Club and I-10, confirmed 27 cases of the virus at its facility on March 30. A spokesperson said 24 of those cases were residents at the facility and three were employees.

That spokesperson confirmed Monday evening the number of cases among residents at the nursing and rehab facility had jumped to 55 residents and 30 employees.

RELATED: 24 residents, 3 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Tucson nursing home

As of April 20, there are 941 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pima County and 59 deaths. There are 88 cases of the virus in the zip code 85714, which includes Sapphire of Tucson, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

AZDHS says case counts by zip code are based of the patient's place of residence. If residence can't be determined, the zip code of the health care facility or the facility that reported the case.

A spokesperson for Sapphire says the facility implemented infection control protocols on March 11, before its first case of COVID-19 was detected. The protocols include increased sanitation of frequently touched areas, pre-screening staff at the start of their shift with temperature checks, restricting outside visits, requiring staff members with symptoms to leave the facility and isolate at home, offering personal protective equipment to all staff members and providing hotel rooms for staff who want to isolate themselves from their families.

Public health experts say the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk for serious complications from COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the 30 staff members infected with the virus. The Sapphire spokesperson also clarified that all staff members are offered personal protective equipment like masks and gloves.