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Families concerned about lack of COVID-19 testing at Chesterfield care facility

Posted at 12:20 AM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 12:54:13-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va.-- As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to spread across Virginia, Chesterfield long-term care facility Brandermill Woods announced nine cases of the virus on Thursday.

The positive cases include five residents and four staff members, officials tell CBS 6.

Julie Lewis, whose 93-year-old father is a resident at Brandermill, said that she is concerned about the outbreak and the testing policy for the Virginia Department of Health.

Brandermill Woods is only testing residents and staff who show symptoms of the virus.

“Every time the phone rings, I think we just cringe, you know we’re waiting to hear the bad news," Julie Lewis said. “He’s been there for about two and a half months," Lewis said.

Lewis's concerns began this earlier week when the retirement facility announced its first positive case of COVID-19.

“When that call came , I was horrified," Lewis said.

Lewis said a staff member tested positive on April 24. Four days later on the 28th, a resident tested positive.

Executive Director of Brandermill Woods, Charmaine Preiss told CBS 6 the infected employees are isolating at home, and the facility is currently only testing people who show symptoms of COVID-19.

She says Brandermill Woods doesn’t have their own tests – they come from the local health department and they determine who is tested.

Preiss said it’s because they’re following guidelines put in place by the Virginia Department of Health, which lists people with no symptoms as non-priority.

VDH also reports that there have been more than 120 outbreaks at long term care facilities across Virginia and 118 deaths.

Lewis believes the best way to ensure safety, is by giving everyone a test at long term care facilities with cases.

“Let’s test them all," Lewis said. "If we test them all, then we can identify who has it and then isolate them and not continue the spread.”

Chesterfield Health leaders said they are monitoring all care facilities in Chesterfield, Powhatan and Colonial Heights and are doing site visits.

Corrections: A previous version of this article stated their were 11 new cases at Brandermill Woods. That is incorrect. There are nine total cases at the facility. Additionally, Brandermill Woods doesn’t have their own tests – they come from the local health department and they determine who is tested. We apologize for the errors.