Coronavirus: 27 cases confirmed at Tucson nursing facility

Two dozen residents and three employees of Sapphire of Tucson Nursing and Rehab test positive

Coronavirus: 27 cases confirmed at Tucson nursing facility
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two dozen residents and three employees of a nursing and rehab facility in Tucson have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sapphire of Tucson Nursing and Rehab has been in contact with all the appropriate local, state and federal agencies, according to a statement released by the facility on Monday, March 30.

The statement says the Pima County Health Department was notified as soon as the first individual showed coronavirus symptoms. It reads in part:

“Pima County officials were onsite quickly and commended Sapphire for our response and for our high standards for infection control.”

The statement claims visits to Sapphire of Tucson have been restricted in compliance with state and federal guidelines for nearly two weeks.

There are roughly 180 patients at the facility, but the total can vary day-to-day. A spokeswoman stated there are approximately 250 people employed at the facility on East Milber Street, southwest of Ajo Way and Country Club Road. They are all complying with guidelines for infection prevention and control, according to the statement.

It states any employees who believe they've been exposed to the virus, or might be developing respiration infection symptoms, have been asked to leave the facility and self-isolate. The statement reads in part:

“We thank the community for their support during this difficult time and ask for their support of health care workers throughout greater Tucson and the nation. They are heroes.”

The full statement follows:

STATEMENT FROM SAPPHIRE OF TUCSON NURSING AND REHABILITATION:

Sapphire of Tucson has confirmed that COVID-19 is present in 24 residents of our community. Three employees have also tested positive for the virus.

As soon as the first patient showed symptoms, we were immediately in touch with the Pima County Department of Health. Pima County officials were onsite quickly and commended Sapphire for our response and for our high standards for infection control.

We continue to collaborate closely with Arizona Department of Health Services and county health officials. We are also in contact multiple times a day with additional health experts in Tucson, ensuring we are taking every possible step to provide the appropriate care to all our residents.

The source of the infection is unclear and remains under investigation.

Infection control, patient safety and patient care are our highest priorities. For nearly two weeks, visits to our community have been restricted in compliance with state and federal guidelines. We continue to follow infection control guidance provided by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and AHCA/NCAL (American Health Care Association/National Association for Assisted Living).

Members of our staff are also complying with guidelines for infection prevention and control. We have instructed any staff member who believes they may have been exposed to the virus, or are developing symptoms of respiratory infection, to leave work and self-isolate at home.

We thank the community for their support during this difficult time and ask for their support of health care workers throughout greater Tucson and the nation. They are heroes.

We respectfully request that further inquiries be directed to the Pima County Health Department or the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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