New Update: COVID-19 Scare At Oakmont Gardens

(Updated July 14)

All residents and staff at Oakmont Gardens who were retested for COVIG-19 the week of July 6 have been cleared by the County Health Department, an official of the Gardens owner said July 14. However, one employee who was exposed outside of Oakmont has since tested positive and is being isolated at home.

“In speaking with Sonoma County Public Health, they feel confident that the risk of exposure from this employee to others is minimal,” said Pamela Hardesty, regional director of operations for MBK Senior Living. “However, as a precaution they will re-test only those residents and (staff) who may have interacted with this employee who was in the building for less than two hours…”

It is not clear how the virus got into the Gardens, or why Sonoma County health officials did not immediately begin contact tracing after MBK reported that an employee had tested positive in mid June. Instead it was left up to MBK to test its residents, Hardesty said.

The county stepped in to test and trace only after the eight positive tests turned up.  As a matter of policy, the county health department  does not offer detailed comment on specific cases or situations.

The  staff member who tested positive in mid June has recovered from the virus but is not currently working, according to Constance Sablan, spokesperson for MBK.

Dining other community activities were suspended in all MBK facilities in mid March as a precautionary measure, she said. “Until we can be confident the our community is virus-free we are continuing to suspend dining in the dining room, activities and salon services,”  Hardesty said.

OVA first heard of reports of positive virus tests from residents in the community and the positive tests were confirmed upon inquiry to MBK.The Gardens said it cannot impose mandatory isolation on its 160 residents, including the 57 in assisted living. However, the company has been urging residents to follow health protocols regarding the virus since March, Sablan said.

MBK did a deep cleaning of all the areas that people who tested positive had visited, including their apartments, and planned to do another deep cleaning soon. Initial cleaning was done after the staff member tested positive on June 15.