SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County of San Luis Obispo reported Tuesday that two SLO County residents have died due to COVID-19, the tenth and eleventh local deaths due to the virus.

The individuals were vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness because they were in their 80s with underlying health conditions. Both residents lived at Vineyard Hills Health Center, a skilled nursing facility in Templeton that is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 among residents and staff. Three residents and one former resident of the facility have died due to COVID-19 since the outbreak began.

The Public Health Department responded immediately to the outbreak and is partnering with Compass Health to stop the spread of infection and prevent a larger outbreak. This includes isolation of those who are sick, ongoing testing and strong infection control measures.

“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “Outbreaks at residential facilities are especially dangerous — and we can all play a role in stopping them before they start. Every time you make the choice to take precautions like wearing a face covering in public and maintaining six feet of distance from others, you are helping stop the virus from spreading through the community and infecting our most vulnerable neighbors.”

As of Tuesday, 1,689 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in SLO County, most of whom had recovered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses. Every individual’s actions can either limit or contribute to this spread.

Older adults, individuals with health conditions, and people living in congregate settings (including residential care facilities) are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness. While risk increases with age among adults, younger adults and those without chronic conditions have also faced serious illness. Those who are at lower risk for serious illness can transmit the virus to others. The CDC indicates that it is possible for people to spread the virus for about two days before experiencing signs or symptoms and remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms first appeared.

All residents, regardless of risk factors, should take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 — in part because it travels through the community and in some cases reaches the most vulnerable residents.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 is available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with questions related to COVID-19.

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