SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The death toll linked to an ongoing COVID19 outbreak at Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria rose to 9 on Monday.
Late Monday morning the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced that 3 COVID19 patients linked to the facility died on Saturday. By early evening the department announced another death linked to the County Oaks Care Center outbreak.
Relatives of residents are fearful their loved ones will be next.
"It is so sad, so scary we live fearful everyday hoping we don't get that dreadful phone call saying that my mom lost her life over this," said Connie Espinoza of Guadalupe.
Her 85-year-old mother has tested positive but has not been hospitalized.
The nearby hospital recently added more ICU beds to handle the growing number of serious cases in Santa Maria.
"Myself and my children would like to send our condolences to the families who have just lost there loved ones to this horrible virus."
Espinoza and her son and daughter want to bring their loved one home but believe they must wait until she tests negative for the virus.
"Every night we are so beyond thankful that she is still going very strong with no symptoms. We try to check on her on a daily basis to see for ourselves that she is still doing well. We cannot wait for the day when my mother gets that negative test and can finally get out of isolation and we can take her and have her." said Espinoza.
Family members visit the center regularly, but since they can't enter they try to communicate with her through the window of the room she shares with two other residents who have also tested positive for COVID19.
The Public Health Department said the latest patients to die were all over 70 years of age with underlying health conditions.