RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — An alliance of Virginia hospitals that has provided invaluable data amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the commonwealth has released a new way to track the situation in Virginia's nursing homes.
On Monday, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) launched a new online dashboard focused on COVID-19 statistics in all of Virginia's licensed nursing facilities.
It's similar to the VHHA's existing dashboard for the situation in Virginia hospitals, which has provides a way throughout the pandemic to track current hospitalizations in Virginia, the number of hospitalized patients who recover, bed and ventilator capacity, and how many hospitals faced PPE supply difficulty.
Those statistics have helped guide Governor Ralph Northam's 'Forward Virginia' plan for reopening. For instance, no hospitals in Virginia have reported difficulties getting supplies of PPE for a few weeks now.
Now, the new dashboard focuses specifically on some of the facilities hardest hit by COVID-19: licensed nursing facilities. And it shows, unlike hospitals, many still face PPE shortages.
It provides up-to-date statistics on the number of confirmed and pending cases among patients and residents, the number of nursing home patients and residents who have recovered, and the number of nursing homes experiencing difficulty in obtaining specific types of PPE, like N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, face shields, and isolation gowns.
The new dashboard comes after the VHHA and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced a new partnership to dedicate resources to long-term care facilities amid the pandemic.
According to the VHHA, the data that's used to fill the dashboard is voluntarily supplied by licensed nursing facilities through the Virginia Healthcare Alerting and Status System (VHASS) program, which is funded by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
VHHA officials say the new dashboard should help provide a resource for their public, state and federal partners to plan COVID-19 response in more detail.
As of May 18, the dashboard shows 1,427 nursing home residents across Virginia currently facing confirmed or pending COVID-19 cases and 520 residents who have recovered from cases.
Across the state, 11 nursing homes report difficulties obtaining N95 masks and 18 have difficulty obtaining isolation gowns.
More details can be found below.
This information is in addition to the statistics provided by the Virginia Department of Health each day, which, on Monday, showed 31,140 total COVID-19 cases across Virginia, with 1,014 deaths. The VDH data does not include information on recovery, because it's not required to be reported to the department for most cases. The VHHA data, however, shows recoveries for patients who have been hospitalized, as well as nursing home residents.
Outbreaks at Shenandoah Valley long-term care centers
In our area, there have been three confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the Central Shenandoah Health District and seven at long-term care facilities in the Lord Fairfax Health District.
Among those are Accordius Health Harrisonburg, where 22 patients died of COVID-19; here" target="_blank">Skyview Springs, where there have been 16 confirmed deaths; Ritenour Rest Home in Staunton, where Augusta Health has confirmed a "COVID situation" but no exact numbers have been provided; and three outbreaks in Shenandoah County, including one at an unnamed nursing home and two at unnamed assisted living facilities.
The largest of those outbreaks was the one at Accordius Health Harrisonburg, where 81 residents and 12 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in April. By Tuesday, May 5, the facility confirmed 22 deaths due to coronavirus. By a little later in May, the large majority of patients had recovered from the virus.
In Page County, the outbreak at Skyview Springs Rehab resulted in 59 residents and 23 staff members testing positive for the virus. By May 13, here" target="_blank">16 people there had died of COVID-19-related causes.
The facility has 115 residents total.
Dr. Colin Greene, with the Lord Fairfax Health District, told WHSV on May 11 that the Skyview Springs outbreak was the only major outbreak in the Page County area.
However, he said they were monitoring five active outbreaks in Shenandoah County. Due to Virginia code preventing the identification of facilities with outbreaks, he could not identify the exact locations, but said two were at businesses, two at assisted living facilities, and one at a nursing home.