The driveway into the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, April 28, 2020. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
The driveway into the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, April 28, 2020. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Covid deaths reported at San Francisco Jewish senior homes

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Three residents at the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living have died from Covid-related complications, according to an update on its website.

The SFCJL is now the second Jewish senior facility in the Bay Area to experience coronavirus deaths. Eight deaths were reported in October in the memory-care program at Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco.

“While the residents were near end of life prior to contracting COVID,” stated a letter signed by the SFCJL’s CEO Daniel Ruth, “the Board, staff and other members of our community are deeply saddened by their passing. These residents were members of our community for an extended period of time and as [a] result our staff formed deep and meaningful relationships with them, and we all feel this tremendous loss.”

Ruth described this time as the “most challenging period in our 150-year history.”

The SFCJL, which is one of the largest long-term senior facilities in the Bay Area with 325 residents and 700 staff members, last week announced a “significant outbreak” of the virus. Thirty-nine residents in a single quarantined unit have tested positive since Dec. 7; a total of 33 staff members have tested positive since March.

The latest update from the facility did not specify how many of the staff members are direct caregivers in the affected unit. It said the SFCJL is working to contain the outbreak with the help of local and state health officials and the facility’s infectious disease physician.

Since the pandemic began in March, the SFCJL had largely avoided surges of coronavirus. Prior to Dec. 7, only two long-term residents and 22 employees had tested positive.

The current outbreak was discovered after a caregiver tested positive during the week of Nov. 30 and the decision was made to quarantine the unit.

The news of the coronavirus deaths comes shortly before the SFCJL is set to receive a delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine sometime between Dec. 21 and 28. In a Dec. 17 email to J., SFCJL spokesperson Marcus Young said they expect to receive 195 doses.

At Rhoda Goldman Plaza, 15 staff members and 25 residents have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the state’s Department of Social Services. At the Reutlinger Community in Danville, as of Dec. 8 seven staff and five residents had tested positive, according to Todd Murch, who is currently heading the facility.

Coronavirus cases across the city and state are exploding. San Francisco reported an average of 280 cases per day this week and an all-time record of 335 cases on Dec. 16, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. On Dec. 17, the Department of Public Health ordered a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone who travels into the city from outside the Bay Area. The order went into effect on Dec. 18 and will last until at least Jan. 4.

California is also seeing a surge. In early November, the state was experiencing a seven-day average of 4,138 cases. As of Dec. 17, that average has jumped to 38,774, according to CNN.

Gabriel Greschler

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