by John Glidden | March 5, 2021
VALLEJO — A skilled nursing facility in Vallejo was fined $25,250 by the state last December for not protecting its workers from the Novel Coronavirus, records show.
The California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued four citations to Windsor Vallejo Care Center with three of the citations being categorized as “serious,” and one categorized as “regulatory.”
According to Cal/OSHA, Windsor failed to “immediately report to the Division the serious illness suffered by an employee who was hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 for about 17 days starting on or about May 10, 2020.”
In response to the outbreak, the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Care Quality (CHCQ) released a dashboard tracking how many skilled nursing facility residents and health care workers have been infected with COVID-19. The dashboard also reports the number of COVID-19 related deaths both groups have experienced.
In addition to 13 resident deaths, 118 residents and 65 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19 at Windsor Vallejo since the start of the outbreak, according to the dashboard.
Agency officials inspected the facility, located at 2200 Tuolumne St., between May 22 and December 11, 2020 with inspectors noting during the May 22 visit that the facility “failed to implement effective procedures for exposure incidents,” including failing “to conduct an exposure analysis, including the determination of which employees had a significant exposure, including but not limited at least seven exposure incidents resulting in 32 confirmed COVID-19 cases.”
Inspectors said the facility failed to “establish, implement and maintain procedures for cleaning and disinfecting personal protective equipment that may become contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the novel pathogen that causes COVID-19, posing an infection risk to employees.”
“The employer permitted employees providing services to both suspect and confirmed COVID-19 patients and non-COVID patients to use the same, potentially contaminated, respiratory protection equipment while attending to all patients in the period of March 2020 to November 2020,” the citation states.
Windsor Vallejo Care Center was also cited for failing to provide and ensure staff used respiration protection while working on residents suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
By late May, more than 100 residents had tested positive, which made up almost a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in Solano County.
“Some things were intentional and negligent,” Shawnie Bennett told the Los Angeles Times.
Bennett’s brother, William Bennett III, was moved to Windsor Vallejo Care Center after suffering a stroke in 2019. He later died from complications of the coronavirus on May 13, the newspaper reported. He was 31.
“He tested negative, and then they moved someone into his room who was coughing,” his sister said in the same article. “They didn’t give that person a mask, and they didn’t provide my brother with a mask. My brother was really scared.”
State records show that Windsor Vallejo has appealed the fine with a status conference scheduled for Monday.
Officials with Windsor Vallejo Care Center couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
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John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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