HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, the site of the largest COVID-19 cluster in Henrico County, reported its 17th COVID-19 related death Friday.
"It is with heavy hearts that Canterbury reports the death of one COVID-19 positive patient over the last 24-hour period. In total, the virus has claimed the lives of 17 patients" a spokesperson for the center wrote in an email.
Additionally, testing of all Canterbury residents determined 91 positive cases at the center off Gayton Road in Henrico's West End.
Thirty-eight patients who tested positive are showing symptoms that range from severe to mild. Thirty-five Canterbury residents tested negative for COVID-19, Canterbury Administrator Jeremiah Davis wrote.
However, the majority (53) of those who tested positive are asymptomatic and showing no signs of illness, Davis said.
"They didn't know that they had this virus at all," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said during a news briefing Friday. "This demonstrates how absolutely critical it is that everyone stay home -- and stay away from other people. Because people can have this virus without knowing it, or feeling sick."
Northam said his heart goes out to nursing home residents who "have no choice."
"I know that it is heartbreaking to not be able to go see your mother, or your father, or your grandparents or even your spouse -- especially," Northam said. "We all have the responsibility to stay home and stay away from other people. So we slow the spread of this virus."
Additionally, 25 healthcare workers at the facility have tested positive, but some additional results "remain outstanding," officials said Friday.
"The medical community has acknowledged from the outset of the novel coronavirus pandemic that as testing volume increases, the number of positive COVID-19 cases will also increase," Davis wrote. "The findings at Canterbury are consistent with other recent mass testing studies."
Davis said the testing allowed Canterbury to separate those who tested positive from those who tested negative.
"Regarding our asymptomatic population, it is hopeful that many of these residents will never develop severe symptoms," he continued. "It is important to know that based on patterns observed elsewhere, many are likely to remain asymptomatic."
The Virginia Department of Health website, which is updated daily, only lists 112 positive cases in Henrio County. It is unclear how many of the 112 cases listed are among the 91 confirmed cases at Canterbury.
Dr. Danny Avula, the health director for the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, confirmed additional cases of the coronavirus in several longterm care facilities.
A woman in her 90's who lived at the Masonic Home of Virginia in eastern Henrico died on Thursday from COVID-19. Avula added five residents and an employee also tested positive at the home.
Avula confirmed eight total cases at The Virginia Home located on Hampton Street in Richmond's Randolph neighborhood. He said one employee and seven residents were diagnosed with the virus.
Friday afternoon, administrators at Westminster Canterbury Richmond confirmed a second case of the novel coronavirus at the senior living home. The resident resides in Independent Living at the facility located on the Richmond-Henrico line and is being treated in the hospital.
"Westminster Canterbury’s first case was confirmed on March 16. This resident recovered in the hospital and returned to Westminster Canterbury, where he has since tested negative for COVID-19 and returned to his residence," a spokesperson said in a statement.
Avula said there were four cases of the coronavirus of Beth Sholom Senior Living in Henrico's Tuckahoe area.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.