(WRIC/WFXR) — Long-term care facilities across the nation and in Virginia continue to struggle to contain outbreaks of COVID-19.
According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), there are currently 148 coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia. As of Tuesday, April 21, 80 of those 148 outbreaks — approximately 54 percent — are in a long-term care centers, amassing a total of 939 cases and 77 deaths. A state task force led by Dr. Laurie Forlano, Virginia’s Deputy Health Commissioner, is working with these facilities to expand and deploy testing.
Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County — where at least 49 people have died as of Saturday, April 18 due to COVID-19 — has said testing was a struggle there in the beginning. The task force is also working with nursing homes that haven’t had outbreaks to access their infection control practices.
In Harrisonburg, the VDH confirmed 10 virus-related deaths at Accordius Health assisted living facility on Monday, April 20, including five residents who transferred from Accordius Health and passed away at a local hospital. In addition, 28 residents are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and are being treated with intravenous fluids, oxygen, and medications, according to health officials
The Central Shenandoah Health District issued a statement about its response to the coronavirus outbreak at the Harrisonburg facility on Monday:
The response to this outbreak has involved multiple partners, including staff and administration at Accordius Health, clinicians with Valley Family Elder Care, Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (SRMH), Virginia Department of Health/Central Shenandoah Health District (VDH/CSHD), Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Emergency Response, the NW Healthcare Coalition and members of the community. These partners are communicating on a daily basis to ensure effective response to this outbreak.
VDH/CSHD have organized Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers to help meet the increased needs of the residents of Accordius Health in Harrisonburg. Two volunteers have been working with Accordius, and VDH/CSHD are working to identify and place additional volunteers.
SRMH has coordinated with the facility to meet the needs of patients who require hospitalization or emergency department assessment.
Emergency Medical Services (Harrisonburg Fire Department, Harrisonburg Rescue Squad and Rockingham County Fire & Rescue) have coordinated to meet the transportation needs for residents requiring hospitalization
The staff at Accordius and the clinical staff from Valley Family Elder Care are providing compassionate care to all the residents, and they are coordinating closely with the hospital when additional care is needed.
The NW Healthcare Coalition has assisted with supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Other long term care facilities in the Harrisonburg area, as well as community members, have shown support in a number of ways, including: food, supplies, and additional staff. The support of the community for the residents and for their caretakers has been heartwarming.Central Shenandoah Health District
The White House has announced all assisted care facilities are now being required to report potential infectious disease outbreaks directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will be requesting real-time information about outbreaks in an effort to control the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile Dr. Danny Avula, the director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, recently recommended anyone who can to take their loved ones out of facilities with outbreaks.
Dr. Forlano said, “I think if and when that is possible for a family certainly that is an option. I think it is important to acknowledge that not every family is in that position to do that.”
Forlano said her group plans to put out some guidance on how best to do bring a loved one home, if you can. The group, of course, wants to ensure safety.
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