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COVID-19 outbreaks hit state mental institutions in Virginia

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Posted at 10:13 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 10:13:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two more patients have died of COVID-19 at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital, bringing the total number of deaths to nine at the state psychiatric institution.

The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that two patients infected during an outbreak that began in mid-July died earlier this month.

State behavioral health officials said Piedmont had no positive cases of COVID-19 among its employees or patients on Tuesday, but 13 employees and 21 patients have recovered from infection by the virus since the outbreak began.

The pandemic has affected 13 behavioral health institutions, including nine mental hospitals, two training centers for people with severe disabilities, a medical center primarily for the disabled, and a rehabilitation center for civilly committed sex offenders.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of this important developing story.

COVID-19 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 contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.