Nursing home resident in Page County tests positive for COVID-19

The Florida Department of Health has released the names of long-term care facilities with...
The Florida Department of Health has released the names of long-term care facilities with residents and/or staff members testing positive for COVID-19. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT
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Health department officials have confirmed that a resident of a nursing home in Page County has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the Lord Fairfax Health District, which covers much of the northern Shenandoah Valley, a resident of Skyview Springs Rehab and Nursing Center in Page County received positive test results for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, April 21.

The health district says they've been working with Skyview Springs and other long-term care facilities since the start of the pandemic to make sure that all the facilities have the resources to respond effectively.

“Residents of long term care facilities are particularly vulnerable to serious COVID-19 infection due their age, underlying medical conditions, and congregate living settings,” said LFHD Director Dr. Colin Greene. “For this reason, we are working closely with our local facilities to rapidly investigate confirmed and probable outbreaks.”

Staff with Skyview Springs they immediately began working with the Lord Fairfax Health District and the Valley Health medical system to coordinate efforts to test everyone at the facility for the virus.

The health district and Skyview Springs say these steps are being taken:

• Any residents with COVID-19-like symptoms are sent to Valley Health for precautionary care and separated from non-symptomatic residents; patients with severe cases are hospitalized if appropriate.

• All residents and staff of the facility are being tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

• The Lord Fairfax Health District is collaborating with the facility on optimal infection control measures to inhibit spread in the facility and the community.

• The facility staff continue to provide compassionate care to all the residents, and are coordinating closely with the hospital when additional care is needed.

Skyview Springs provided the following statement on their response to COVID-19:

The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff have been and will continue to be our shared and ongoing concern. Even before this first confirmed case, we began working diligently with local and state health departments, and utilized guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to implement the best protocols available to combat any spread of the virus. This has included constantly monitoring all residents for any COVID-19 symptoms along with conducting daily staff screenings. We have already instituted a policy, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future, that a staff member must stay home if any symptoms of a respiratory illness arise, irrespective of their cause. Since the very first confirmed cases in Virginia, we have restricted resident visitations and will be continuing this policy for the foreseeable future. However, we understand that connecting with family members and loved ones is incredibly important for the health and wellbeing of our residents, especially at this trying time. Therefore, we will continue to encourage connecting virtually by telephone or video call, email, text, and instant messaging. CDC recommendations on visitation are continuously being updated, and state strategies are shifting as well. As they do, we will be immediately updating our policies and efforts accordingly.

There have been nine total COVID-19 outbreaks reported in the Lord Fairfax Health District, including four in congregate settings, three in healthcare settings, and two in long-term care facilities. Exactly which facilities are included amid those reported outbreaks is unclear, and the Virginia Department of Health cannot legally report facility information without the facility's approval.

That number does not include Skyview Springs, because one case does not constitute an outbreak.

Dr. Greene, director of the Lord Fairfax Health District, says the definition of an "outbreak" for COVID-19 requires two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with a specific group, location, or time, but not part of a household.

Page County has reported 14 total COVID-19 cases, with 0 hospitalizations and 0 deaths.

The commonwealth of Virginia, under Gov. Ralph Northam, established a task force on responding to outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities earlier this month.

The task force, headed by Dr. Laurie Forlano, responds to any outbreaks reported at long-term care centers across Virginia to coordinate response and and make sure they all have access to testing, PPE, and the cleaning supplies they need to respond to the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, there had been 80 outbreaks identified at Virginia long-term care centers, with 939 cases and 77 deaths.

The Lord Fairfax Health District says preventing COVID-19 starts with personal actions to stop the spread in the community. They advise staying home whenever possible, maintaining six feet of social distancing when outside your home, and wearing a cloth face mask when in public.

Frequent hand washing and cleaning of surfaces is also an effective way to prevent spreading disease.