Laguna Honda Hospital. Photo by Christopher Michel.

Eight additional people at Laguna Honda Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 through a program that aims to test all 2,500-some residents and staff, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said Tuesday at the city’s 1 p.m. press briefing. That brings the total number of coronavirus infections discovered at the hospital to 29.

So far, all 718 residents have been tested, along with 1,369 staff, which leaves approximately 400 staff members who will be tested in the next week.

“We know it is very likely there will be more cases,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Health Department.

Laguna Honda is the first of 21 skilled nursing facilities where the city plans to regularly test all of the residents and staff.

Cases of coronavirus were first discovered at Laguna Honda March 22, which led to fears a larger outbreak was coming. More than a month later — on May 1 — the city ordered that all staff and residents of the city’s 21 skilled nursing facilities to be tested.

The recent testing at Laguna Honda revealed four people, two residents, and two staff members, to be positive. Colfax said contact-tracing staff had followed up with those four cases, which identified additional people to be tested, and in turn led to more positive cases being uncovered.

“This testing allows the hospital to proactively protect residents and staff from exposure by identifying COVID-19 among people without symptoms,” Colfax said. “We know that many people have COVID-19 and may not show symptoms — whether it’s because they don’t show symptoms at all during the course of the infection, or whether they’re in the early stages of their COVID-19 disease.”

Staff who test positive are immediately sent home to self-isolate, and residents who test positive are transferred to a dedicated COVID-19 unit.

Colfax said all of those who had tested positive are in “good condition.” To date, there have been no deaths from coronavirus at Laguna Honda, and several people have fully recovered.

Across all 21 skilled nursing facilities in San Francisco, Colfax said approximately 40 percent of patients and residents have been tested. Five facilities have finished testing everyone, four are underway, and the rest are planned for the next few weeks.

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Michael Toren

Michael Toren is a reporter in San Francisco. He can be reached at michael.toren@gmail.com

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