Chula Vista

Veterans Homes Report More COVID-19 Cases as Staff, Residents Wait for Vaccine

Veterans homes are working to manage growing numbers of COVID-19 cases as workers and residents wait on vaccines to arrive.

"Well I'm worried about it,” Veterans Home Chula Vista resident George Marston said. “I'm not exactly young and if I got it I'd probably go."

Despite months of keeping COVID-19 case numbers relatively low, it seems veterans homes are not immune to the surge overwhelming hospitals across the state. The Veterans Home Chula Vista campus is closed to the public, but while it can keep visitors out, it can’t prevent COVID-19 from coming in.

"Well it is concerning, yes,” Marston said.

In a statement, a CalVet spokeswoman said veterans' homes are taking every measure to keep the coronavirus at bay, including banning visitors, performing temperature checks, rampant testing, and prohibiting gatherings in break rooms and common areas.

"We will continue to confront the COVID-19 virus, the wolf that it, is and destroy it,” said the California Veterans Affairs Secretary in a video message directed at employees back in April.

Across California’s eight Veterans Homes, nearly 350 employees have tested positive along with 119 residents. Right now, there are 82 active cases.

In Chula Vista, emails obtained by the Sacramento Bee state that as of Dec. 20, 10 residents and six workers actively have the virus.

Still, Marston said he feels he is in good hands, especially knowing a vaccine is within reach.

"They're doing what they can the best they can,” Marston said.

The CalVet spokeswoman said no deaths are linked to COVID-19 at the home in Chula Vista.

Residents and workers will start receiving the vaccine Jan. 11.

Five Veterans Homes residents and one employee have died due to COVID-19 elsewhere in the state.

The Chula Vista home has conducted more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests on its approximately 270 residents, and more than 5,200 tests on its approximately 350 employees.

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