COVID-19 deaths at long-term care facility in central Virginia rise to 17

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 4:02 PM EDT
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Another resident of Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico has died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total in that one facility to 17 COVID-19 related deaths.

The deaths at Canterbury make up more than a third of the total deaths in Virginia.

There are currently 91 in-house or hospitalized Canterbury residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, the center says. They are being treated at the hospital or on-site, per guidance from the Henrico County Health Department.

All residents in the facility

, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam specifically mentioned Canterbury in his

, saying that the Dept. of Health had found that 53 of the patients that tested positive for the virus there showed no symptoms.

Here’s a breakdown of the cases:

• 53 of the positive residents are asymptomatic carriers who show no signs of being ill

• 38 residents are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms that range from mild to severe

• 35 Canterbury residents have tested negative for COVID

• 25 staff members have tested positive and some are still awaiting test results

The death confirmed on April 3 brings the total at the facility to 17.

Overall, 108 residents have contracted the virus, including those who died from it.

Canterbury Health and the Henrico Health Department says families were notified of the test results Thursday morning.

“In a long-term care facility, you’re in a unique circumstance where there’s high touch and a lot of going from one patient to another with a high volume of healthcare workers," said Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula.

That’s perhaps the very reason there continues to be a growing number of cases at Canterbury. While working to keep residents there safe, health officials are also taking a closer look at the healthcare workers there.

“The challenge is that there’s not enough on the ground for everybody to use PPE with every patient whether they’re symptomatic or not, and that’s a particular concern for us," he added.

Nearly 150 people work at Canterbury and some of them are still waiting to be tested.

The new guidance is coming in every day on the best way to recognize and respond to the virus.

“Up until a couple of days of ago we were saying basically the time you develop symptoms is the time you’re most contagious but we are now backing up our investigations for a 48 hour period before that where you’re not showing any symptoms...For the last couple of weeks, individuals who haven’t had symptoms weren’t thought to have the disease so they weren’t using PPE on all of those cases," Avula added.

As they continue to learn more, health leaders can't help but stress what they already know.

“I’ve heard some people say ‘act like everyone has it’ and that would be consistent with what we are saying. Keep your 6-foot distance from everybody. Stay home as much as you can," he said.

There are seven different long term care facilities in Richmond and Henrico that have cases where at least two people either have coronavirus or are showing symptoms. This is especially concerning as health leaders work to stop the virus from spreading.

Dr. Avula says one question that’s come up is whether there should be a state mandate during this pandemic to stop medical staff who work at one facility from then going to work at a different one to pick up extra hours. While it could slow the spread, it could be hard because so many facilities are in need of healthcare workers right now.