Staff member at Staunton assisted living facility tests positive for COVID-19

(Photo: Alissa Eckert, MS / Dan Higgins, MAM / License Link)(MGN)
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — A staff member at an assisted living facility in Staunton has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from Cherie Powers, the executive director of The Legacy at North Augusta, they found out Wednesday morning that a team member at the facility, which is a nonprofit National Lutheran Community within the city of Staunton, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Powers said she could not share the identity of the person who tested positive, per the standard practice when it comes to cases under Virginia Department of Health guidelines, but said that they are doing well and are self-quarantined at home.

After a quarantine period of 14 days, the person will be allowed to return to work, as CDC guidelines dictate.

The facility is working with their medical director to determine who else may have had direct contact with the infected person to be able to ask those people to quarantine at home per contact tracing guidelines.

Anyone who was in direct contact will be required to be tested for COVID-19, and the facility will decide from there what further actions need to be taken.

Powers said team members at The Legacy at North Augusta have been wearing face coverings and gloves "as needed throughout their day," and said they've been practicing social distancing in their communities, alongside regular handwashing and disinfection of surfaces.

They'll also be continuing daily wellness checks for all residents, including temperature checks and monitoring for cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, new dizziness and new diarrhea.

Team members also have their temperature checked upon entry to the building and are sent home if they have a fever over 99 degrees.

As Virginia begins reopening, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities will continue to take extreme precautions to protect some of the people most vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19.

The Legacy at North Augusta will continue to restrict visitations to essential visits at end of life only until further notice..

They're working with their parent organization to design a phased plan of easing restrictions, but expect to be at least two weeks behind state recommendations to be able to monitor numbers in case of a spike due to eased restrictions.

"We do expect that when we ease restrictions at The Legacy, groups will be limited to under 10 people and we will still utilize face coverings and be vigilant about handwashing and disinfecting surfaces. As we know more about what our plan looks like, we will share it with residents and families," the facility said in a statement.

Last Friday, Augusta Health confirmed "a COVID-19 situation" at Ritenour Rest Home, another Staunton assisted living facility.

As of May 20, the Virginia Department of Health had confirmed 33 COVID-19 cases in Staunton and 88 in Augusta County. There have been 13 total outbreaks confirmed in the Central Shenandoah Health District, with four of them in long-term care facilities.