SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento's smallest neighboring county, rural Amador, has quickly become a hotbed for coronavirus activity, with health officials and the state reporting a rapid spike in new cases and a flood of more than a dozen deaths in the past week -- nearly all of the fatalities at one nursing facility.
Amador County, which has a population of about 38,500, on Aug. 7 reported its first two resident deaths from complications of COVID-19. Both were in their 80s and had existing health conditions, according to a news release.
Then in an update this Tuesday, Amador's County public health office confirmed seven more deaths from the virus.
By Thursday, the county's listed death toll grew again, to 11. One week earlier, it had been zero.
The county's official death toll stood at 11 as of a Friday evening update from its health office, but state data attribute at least 13 coronavirus fatalities in Amador to senior living facilities -- 12 of them at one nursing home.
Kit Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in the city of Jackson, in an update to the front page of its website reported that 10 of its residents had died of the virus as of Wednesday, with another 39 positive for COVID-19 at that point. The facility has 199 beds, according to its website.
A California Department of Public Health dashboard showing COVID-19 activity at the state's skilled nursing facilities lists 12 resident deaths at Kit Carson among 48 cumulative positive cases in residents, 39 of them considered active as of Friday afternoon. There's an unexplained discrepancy in those numbers, though, because the infection totals indicate only nine inactive cases. That's smaller than the death toll of 12, all of which should be considered not active.
Additionally, the Kit Carson website shows 34 employees at the facility had contracted the virus as of Wednesday, seven of them active and 27 recovered. None have died. The state dashboard on Friday showed only 19 total employee positive cases.
Also on Friday, the California Department of Social Services updated its list of licensed assisted living facilities with confirmed COVID-19 activity. It added a lone entry for Amador County: the Amador Residential Care Facility in Jackson. That facility, which according to its website has a capacity of 49 residents, didn't appear on Thursday's list but showed up Friday with at least one resident death. Assisted living facilities provide long-term residence but a lower level of medical care than skilled nursing facilities.
The database for COVID-19 activity at assisted living facilities obscures exact numbers below certain thresholds as a privacy measure. For that reason, it specifies only that Amador Residential Care Facility has reported at least one, but fewer than 11, resident deaths. It's had fewer than 11 positive cases among residents and fewer than 11 among staff, and no staff deaths.