WATSONVILLE — The County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency reported Friday that a 16th person has died in relation to the Watsonville Post Acute Center COVID-19 outbreak that started in September.
A man in his 90s that had several underlying health conditions in addition to a positive case of COVID-19 died at a local hospital Oct. 20, according to county spokesman Jason Hoppin.
The county has to wait for each death certificate and note whether the virus was a component before adding it to the dashboard, which is why the news came 10 days after the death.
Hoppin said Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel alluded to the state of the outbreak during her press conference announcing the possibility of the county moving to the orange tier of the state coronavirus measurement model Tuesday. At that time, there were still people in the hospital but no new infections had been reported in over a week.
“But we are not out of the woods, she said,” Hoppin recounted Newel’s remarks on Friday afternoon.
Hoppin was unsure upon query whether there were still active cases at the Watsonville skilled nursing facility, but he said that 50 total residents and 21 total staff members had been infected since the first cases were reported Sept. 18.
“It’s a very unfortunate tragedy,” Hoppin said.
As of deadline, Santa Cruz County health officials reported 2,884 cases of COVID-19, with 226 of those cases being active. Nearly 190 of the cases were severe enough to require hospitalization. Nearly 60,000 tests conducted in county labs have come back negative. Person-to-person contact through shared households remains the most likely source of exposure to COVID-19 in the county.