Situations of potential exposure to the novel coronavirus in Tri-Valley settings continue to come to light, as a volunteer with nonprofit food provider Open Heart Kitchen and a member of Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton have each been confirmed as testing positive.
Those cases followed a report of a resident at Sunrise Senior Living in Pleasanton also testing positive for COVID-19.
News of the three positive tests were first reported by Pleasanton Patch. The Pleasanton Weekly has independently verified the Castlewood and Open Heart Kitchen cases. Sunrise declined to confirm details when contacted by the Weekly.
The three cases are in addition to other presumptive positive cases in communal conditions in the Tri-Valley, including three people at San Ramon schools reporting positive tests last week and a nurse at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a positive test reported on March 26.
Open Heart Kitchen
Open Heart Kitchen, a Tri-Valley nonprofit that provides meals to low-income residents and seniors, has learned that a volunteer tested positive for the virus earlier this month, according to development director Denise Bridges.
The unnamed volunteer last worked with OHK at Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore on March 17, Bridges told the Weekly on Tuesday. The nonprofit immediately suspended use of the Asbury site, which was then thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by a professional service, she said.
"The potentially exposed volunteers and staff have been notified and instructed to contact their healthcare providers. All were placed under a 14-day self quarantine as an extra precaution," Bridges added.
OHK staff and volunteers always maintain "high standards" in food safety and food handling practices, and although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through food, the local nonprofit is taking extra steps to reduce potential exposure for staff and clients, according to Bridges.
"These steps have included increasing the frequency of cleaning OHK facilities and equipment, directing employees to stay home if they feel sick, canceling volunteer shifts, meetings and staff travel, increasing the use of teleworking among staff, and encouraging social distancing and other preventive measures," Bridges said.
OHK had already adjusted its operations in the wake of the crisis and county and state health guidelines during the crisis situation.
The nonprofit offers only pickup meals for seniors and other residents to go and delivers meals to homeless encampments. Sitdown dining is temporarily suspended. OHK uses only minimal kitchen staff and works with local city staff to prepare and distribute the meals, Bridges said.
The Castlewood Country Club Board of Directors and management team sent a letter to members on Friday informing membership that one unnamed male member had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Weekly.
"We have communicated with this Member and he mentioned that he is feeling much better without a temperature for the past few days. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers," the letter stated, in part. "We are working to identify employees, Members and guests who may have been in close contact with this person and will notify them separately."
The member in question was last on the Castlewood property on March 14 in the Veranda for lunch service and took part in the St. Patrick's Scramble Golf Tournament, Castlewood officials said.
"Prior to receiving word from the Member about his illness, and consistent with the Club’s cleaning protocol, both the Veranda and the Valley Clubhouse were sanitized following the tournament," they said.
"Please be aware that certain employees, Members and guests of the Club may have been exposed to COVID-19," the letter stated. "If you experience symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, coughing or shortness of breath), please stay home and let me, as General Manager of the Club, know that you are ill as soon as possible. We also recommend you contact your health care provider and the local health department and follow their guidance."
Officials from the Sunrise Senior Living corporate office, responding on behalf of Sunrise of Pleasanton to an email inquiry about the positive test report, declined to confirm information about a positive test, citing staff and resident privacy, and only offered general comments "regarding the presence of COVID-19 at Sunrise of Pleasanton."
"We are working to maintain normalcy for our residents and families despite this situation. We want to thank our residents, families and team members for their understanding, cooperation and words of support in recent days. We appreciate the trust you place in us every day, and it is our honor and privilege to serve Bay Area families," said Carla Sanchez, regional vice president of operations.
"The community has completed a deep cleaning by a professional service and we are continuing to closely track our team members’ interaction with residents, documenting which individuals they serve," she added.
Sanchez said Sunrise officials continue to follow recommendations from state and federal health officials, and they've implemented procedures to reduce exposure such as asking residents to remain in their suites, engaging residents in one-on-one activities, prohibiting visitors, dining in-room only and arranging FaceTime visits with family members.
Patch reported that Sunrise of Pleasanton officials emailed a letter to family members saying a resident at the senior facility tested positive for COVID-19, but Sunrise officials declined to share a copy of that letter with the Weekly -- sharing only the corporate comment instead.