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Bridgewater Retirement Community president tests positive for COVID-19

(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 3:37 PM EDT
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The president of Bridgewater Retirement Community has tested positive for COVID-19, as have two construction workers recently contracted to work at the facility.

According to a statement from the facility, staff members learned Tuesday night that BRC President Rodney Alderfer has received positive test results for the novel coronavirus.

Staff members say they are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to mitigate any potential spread of the disease, and health department officials are working to trace any and all contacts Alderfer had now.

At this time, they do not believe any residents of the retirement community were exposed.

However, any staff members and anyone else potentially exposed is quarantined at home for 14 days from the date of exposure, per the

.

As of June 3, no residents of Bridgewater Retirement Community have tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. A team member

, but exposure was limited and they said the employee communicated throughout the process.

“We feel it’s important to share this news with our community,” Alderfer, who is self-isolating with mild symptoms, said in a statement. “Transparency is crucial when it comes to people’s health and wellbeing. I am physically fine but frustrated with the situation. Fortunately, technology allows me to continue doing what I need to do to support BRC in this challenging time.”

Under Virginia code and the Virginia Department of Health's interpretation of it, no facilities or individuals are required to report the status of COVID-19 cases for themselves or their businesses. That includes long-term care centers. It's ultimately up to individual facilities whether to provide that transparency and release their numbers to the public.

Effective immediately on June 3, the facility is requiring all team members to wear surgical masks while on the job, rather than just fabric face coverings. They say surgical masks have already been required for team members providing direct care, but are now required for all workers.

Additionally, in what health officials believe is a separate incident, two construction workers who were recently contracted to work at BRC also tested positive for COVID-19.

Staff say the construction workers stayed exclusively in a closed area of the campus where they did not come into direct contact with any team members or residents. The construction company is also working with the Virginia Department of Health.

But as a precaution, all construction projects at the facility have been temporarily suspended.

There have been strict prevention measures for COVID-19 in place at BRC since mid-March, including screening team members at the beginning of each shift and daily monitoring of all residents in nursing, assisted living, and memory support.

In many cases, BRC has adopted policies that go beyond current recommendations or requirements, though those policies later became the standard recmmendation.

Although Virginia is beginning to ease some public health restrictions, for now, BRC is maintaining its prevention protocols for the health and safety of residents.

For more information on BRC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can check their webpage at

.

COVID-19 leads to especially severe symptoms for elderly patients and

at long-term care facilities, retirement communities, and nursing homes.

, Rockingham County has had 548 positive cases of COVID-19, and the city of Harrisonburg has had 809. The Central Shenandoah Health District has responded to 15 total outbreaks, including 6 in long-term care facilities, with 502 total outbreak-associated cases.