Ducey warns COVID-19 is widespread

Gov. Doug Ducey during his press conference where he warned COVID-19 is widespread and cases are increasing throughout the state.

Here's an update on how coronavirus has affected care facilities and more in Green Valley/Sahuarita.

Care facilities

Amy Malkin, chief operating officer at Pioneer Health Group and board member of the Arizona Health Care Association, said she has heard of an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in assisted living facilities and group homes.

Malkin said she contacted Pima County to request increased support for those facilities because they generally are not clinical settings and require clinical resources to address coronavirus related care, including testing.

Santa Rita Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, one of Pioneer’s local facilities, experienced its largest number of cases in late March and early April, Malkin said. Currently, Santa Rita has one COVID-positive patient who recently re-tested negative.

Malkin said 60 to 90 employees, who wear PPE and are screened for symptoms twice per shift, are tested weekly at Santa Rita and on average one or two employees per week have returned positive results. 

Pima County provides the center with test kits and handles getting kits to the labs. The center administers the tests with staff. Malkin said the county has been critical on the testing front.

“We would not have been able to get through it without their support," she said.

At Arroyo Gardens, a Pioneer assisted living facility next to Santa Rita Rehab, there are two positive cases, a husband and wife. Residents and employees are tested every two weeks.

Pioneer pools its resources to administer tests at Arroyo Gardens with clinical staff from its nursing facility and home health wing, and a nurse practitioner from CareMore Health assisting the on-site nurse with administering tests.

Santa Rita Home Health provides in-home care to about 50 clients and has averaged about three positive cases since they started accepting COVID positive patients.

Malkin said when the pandemic hit home, health agencies were not able to accept COVID-19 clients because of limited PPE and concerned clinicians. But clinicians are more understanding of the disease and comfortable with treating clients in-home now. She said nearly all home health agencies are now able to accept clients with the disease.

Bobby Larson, owner of The Villas at Green Valley, said they had three positive tests about two weeks ago. Those residents currently have no symptoms and have been re-tested. Those results are due Monday.

The Villas lost seven residents to the virus from March into mid-May, all with underlying health conditions.

Joni Condit, CEO at La Posada, said Friday they have had few new cases among residents and has just one person recovering in their COVID-19 unit. That person is expected to return home Wednesday.

Over the past four months, La Posada has had 5.7 percent of staff with the virus, all of whom remained home for at least 10 days.

La Posada, the first major organization in Green Valley to lock down, had eight deaths at its high-acuity assisted living home, the last one in mid-May. They continue stringent measures, with residents required to wear masks in common areas and no visitors.

Prestige Assisted Living at Green Valley confirmed as of Thursday that two residents tested positive and are receiving care at a hospital. The facility completed testing of all residents Friday. Three employees have tested positive and the facility is following CDC quarantine guidance.

The Green Valley News reached out to other assisted living facilities and group homes Friday but did not receive a response.

Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital in Green Valley had six patients with the virus or pending tests as of Friday, according to CEO Kelly Adams.