The entrance to Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)
The entrance to Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco. (Photo/Gabriel Greschler)

At least one Covid-linked death reported at SF Jewish senior residence

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After a long period with no known positive cases of coronavirus, Rhoda Goldman Plaza informed its community this week that two more residents in its memory-care unit and four additional staff members had tested positive, bringing the total number to 17 in memory care and 12 among staff.

In addition, the state’s Department of Social Services reported this week that at least one resident in the Jewish senior facility’s memory-care unit has died from Covid-related complications. It would mark the first time a Jewish senior facility in the Bay Area has lost a resident or staff member to the virus.

For privacy reasons, the state reports only a range of deaths, from 1 to 11. If a facility reports 12 or more deaths, the state reports the precise number.

The DSS oversees California’s residential community care facilities, which are required to report positive coronavirus cases and Covid-related deaths to the state. (Skilled-nursing facilities such as the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living are licensed by the state’s health department, a different entity.)

After the most recent round of testing, none of the 111 residents in the assisted-living unit had tested positive for the virus.

“As you can imagine, Rhoda Goldman Plaza families, staff, and residents are facing a very difficult situation at the present time,” executive director Ira Kurtz said in a statement to J. “We are immensely grateful to our staff whose dedication has not waivered despite significant risk to their own health. We are also touched by the support of residents and families as we care for our Memory Care residents throughout this COVID outbreak.”

Several people with family members living in the facility have expressed to J. their worry and frustration with what they consider insufficient communication about positive cases. The three individuals, who asked not to be identified, all said they had not been informed about any deaths at the facility.

In his statement to J., Kurtz said Rhoda Goldman families have been “very appreciative of our transparency since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and now, during our Memory Care outbreak.”

He added, “We have been candid with sharing updates, statistics, and information with our residents and families,” and said the facility is in “particularly close communication” with those who have family members with positive test results.

Kurtz said the facility has been able to maintain its staffing levels with the help of outside agencies.

The city’s health department is conducting weekly testing of any staff and residents who have tested negative previously. The next round was scheduled for Oct. 1. The testing will continue “for the foreseeable future,” according to the community email.

According to the state data, Rhoda Goldman Plaza is one of five assisted-living residences in San Francisco, among a total of 59 such facilities in the city, that have reported Covid cases. Cases in San Francisco and California are both on a downward trend.

As in other states, California’s senior facilities have become hotspots for Covid outbreaks. Assisted-living and skilled nursing facilities combined make up 7 percent of cases in the state, but 36 percent of deaths.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.