COVID-19 outbreak at Henrico nursing home: 19 test positive, 6 dead

Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 19:19:06-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center continue to deal with a coronavirus outbreak and now reports 19 positive cases as of Friday.

"We also sadly report, in total, the virus has claimed the lives of four Canterbury residents with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses," administrators said.

Additionally, officials said two “presumed positive” residents died over the past 24 hours.

"Per guidance from the Henrico County Health Department, 10 patients are currently being treated onsite at Canterbury in an isolated unit with dedicated nursing and certified nursing assistant staff," officials said.

Officials said five other residents with COVID-19 are hospitalized.

Dr. Danny Avula, Director of Richmond and Henrico Health Departments, said Thursday the Far West End facility reported more than a dozen symptomatic patients. He says the total number of residents tested is unknown at this time.

Additionally, the facility reported six healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19.

Canterbury announced Wednesday that a third resident who tested positive for COVID-19 died. This came one day after the facility announced two elderly residents who tested positive for COVID-19 died. The cases were the first deaths from the coronavirus in Central Virginia.

Over the past 13 days, 17 Canterbury residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Canterbury officials say two patients continue to receive treatment at a regional hospital and 11 patients are currently being treated at Canterbury in an isolated unit with dedicated nursing and certified nursing assistant staff, per guidance from the Henrico County Health Department,

Avula said the facility has reached out to three local hospital systems to help augment staff at the center.

“While we are deeply focused on the care and protection of our residents and staff here onsite at Canterbury, our hearts go out to the families of those who have passed, and we deeply feel the loss within our community,” Administrator Jeremiah Davis wrote in a message.

“We also recognize this is an incredibly stressful time for anyone with an elderly or infirm loved one, particularly in a group setting. We understand that connecting with family members is incredibly important. We are working hard to keep our families fully informed.”

Henrico Health officials say they are continuing to collaborate with the facility to reduce risk of transmission, conduct contact investigation, and to implement control measures.

Those health officials also confirmed that Canterbury suspended admissions and resident visitations, even before their first positive test.

“Yesterday, our medical director personally reached out to each Canterbury family with a COVID-19 positive loved one. Members of the Canterbury team reached out to the families of all other residents,” Davis wrote. “Further, we are establishing a dedicated phone line explicitly for families with questions; we have a team in place that will respond as quickly as possible to those calls. We also continue to encourage ‘virtual’ visitations with loved ones by telephone or video call, email, text, or instant messaging.”

Canterbury says they are continually monitoring all residents for COVID-19 symptoms along with daily employee screenings.

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said the county is in close contact with leadership at Canterbury and are there to help the residents and staff in anyway possible.

"The safety and well-being of all Henrico County residents – especially our most vulnerable – is a critical priority for this county government at any time, and even more so now during this public health emergency. There is nothing that’s more important," said Vithoulkas in a statement. "Currently we are working to connect them with healthcare companies that can provide additional nursing staff to deliver the around-the-clock care needed by their residents. The county also helped Canterbury arrange 24-hour, onsite access to a private ambulance service to address their critical-care needs. Moving forward, Henrico County will continue to work closely with Canterbury to provide whatever assistance we can to support the facility’s residents and staff throughout this difficult time."

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

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 non-essential travel.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
  • Avoid crowds of more than ten people.