Three More Gardens Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

  (Updated Aug. 6)

            Three more employees at Oakmont Gardens have tested positive for COVID-19, two prompting county health officials to test all residents and employees for a second time in less than two months.

           The initial employee tested positive on July 25, just three days after restrictions on dining and visitation at the facility had been relaxed. Two more were found in follow-up testing, according to Pam Hardesty, spokesperson for Gardens operator MBK Senior Living.

     It was the fifth time a Gardens staffer had tested positive, but the previous two were cleared by the county Health Department, along with eight residents who tested positive in early July.

            “We appreciate that everyone is fatigued by COVID news and the limitations it places on our active, social, and independent lifestyles,” Hardesty said in a notice to residents. “Until we can be confident that our community is virus-free again, we are suspending dining in the dining room, small group activities and scheduled visitations until further notice.”

            She said the county planned to  begin retesting all employees and staff on Aug. 10.

     “We cannot require our staff to follow specific protocols outside of work,” Hardesty  said, but “we have begun asking all team members to sign the MBK Senior Living COVID-19 Safety Pledge. It reminds all employees that their actions at and outside of work have significant impact on our community. By signing the pledge, they agree to practice reasonable infection control by social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and wearing a mask when in public.”

            The latest positives began just three days after the Sonoma County Health Department had cleared the Gardens to resume some “in-community” activities, while continuing to test employees each week on a rotating basis.

            All residents and staff were initially tested the week of July 6 and cleared after eight residents and two staff members came up positive and were quarantined. All recovered without developing symptoms.