New COVID-19 clusters reported at Henrico senior living facilities

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 00:56:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The health director for Richmond and Henrico has identified three new COVID-19 clusters at area nursing homes.

Dr. Danny Avula, the health director for the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said there are three COVID-19 cases at Beth Sholom Rehabilitation and three positive cases at the Masonic Home in eastern Henrico.

The director said the health department is working with the staff at both facilities to help slow transmission to other patients.

Officials declined to name the third facility with new COVID-19 cases.

Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, where eight residents have died of COVID-19-related illnesses, is seeing the largest outbreak in Central Virginia. Thirty-seven other residents as well as six staffers have tested positive for the virus.

However, Avula said Sunday infection prevention protocols put in place by the medical staff at the facility appear to be working.

In fact, Avula said one glimmer of hope is that there have been no new deaths at the facility over the past 24 hours.

“The spread of infection may be slowing down," Avula said. "We had a period where we had an increase of twenty or more symptomatic individuals, but in the last two 24-hour periods, that has been like five or less symptomatic cases.”

Avula said the state saw its first case about three weeks ago and estimates Central Virginia is at least six weeks away from reaching anything near a peak.

“The way that this disease is spreading and the fact that we are everyday increasing access to testing, I would not be surprised if Virginia was in the same boat, seeing 10 times increase from earlier this week to sometime next week," Avula said.

Avula said additional access to rapid testing for COVID-19 should help medical personnel moving forward.