Nursing homes report cases

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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Federal nursing home data paints incomplete picture of COVID-19 in region

By Jimmy LaRoue and Stephen Faleski

Data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid showing COVID-19 case totals give an incomplete picture of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the Western Tidewater Health District and around the country.

The data does, however, in some cases, indicate that the scope of positive COVID-19 cases in nursing homes in the region was greater than initially reported, and it reports that most locations regionally in its database have at least a week’s supply of personal protective equipment on hand.

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The health district has had eight outbreaks — five at long-term care facilities, two at congregate settings and one at a correctional facility. Of the outbreaks, there are 391 associated cases — out of the 669 positive cases district-wide — and 40 involving health care workers, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The state does not break down that data any further, and state health officials have repeatedly said it would not release data indicating the specific number of cases and deaths at each long-term care facility, citing privacy reasons.

However, a new federal rule mandated that nursing homes report their COVID-19 case totals to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It does not include data from other long-term care facilities in the district — which includes Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County — such as assisted living facilities. CMS officials have said the data is preliminary and subject to change as its accuracy is fully verified.

About 88 percent of the 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes had reported the required data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of May 31, reporting more than 95,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 32,000 deaths. The data will be updated again June 18, and then weekly after that.

Statewide, there have been 1,443 COVID-19 cases at nursing homes and 481 deaths, according to CMS. However, the Virginia Mercury has reported that as of June 5, the state health department confirmed 95 Virginia nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks and 3,514 cases, with 589 deaths.

State health department data shows 227 outbreaks and 5,338 positive COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities, which includes assisted living and nursing home facilities.

In April, Consulate Health Care in Windsor confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, but did not indicate how many. Federal data shows that 63 residents tested positive, with eight deaths at Consulate as a result of COVID-19.

The new federal data takes into account four locations in Suffolk — Lake Prince Woods, Accordius Health at Nansemond Pointe, Bon Secours Maryview Nursing Care Center and Autumn Care of Suffolk. The first two did not report any COVID-19 cases or deaths.

However, Bon Secours Maryview has had 68 positive COVID-19 cases among residents, according to the most recent federal data, with 11 deaths among residents. Another 37 staff members there have tested positive for COVID-19, with no deaths reported. Spokeswoman Jenna Green said every resident and staff member has been tested for the novel coronavirus, and it has a dedicated COVID-19 unit based on CMS guidelines.

At Autumn Care, federal data indicates there have been 15 positive cases among residents and four deaths attributed to COVID-19, with two staff members also testing positive.

In Suffolk, 34 people have died as a result of COVID-19.

“The care center staff have worked tirelessly to protect themselves and the residents from the threat of COVID-19, and as a result, CHC of Windsor has had no new cases in residents or staff, and no new symptomatology since May 11,” said Jennifer L. Trapp, vice president of corporate communications for Consulate’s Florida headquarters. “All residents currently at Windsor have recovered. We grieve with families that have lost loved ones as a result of this virus and we will continue to do everything possible to protect our staff and those entrusted to our care.”

At Riverside Healthy Living Community, a long-term care facility in Smithfield, only three residents are suspected of having COVID-19 and none have been confirmed, according to the CMS data. That facility reports no COVID-19-related deaths.

As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 originating from within a Smithfield ZIP code, according to VDH data. That’s out of 529 people having been tested, with the total population of the 23430 ZIP code including over 8,000 town residents and another roughly 8,000-plus living at Smithfield addresses outside the town limits.

At the Courtland Health and Rehabilitation Center in Southampton County, there have been three COVID-19 cases reported to CMS, with one death. At Bon Secours’ East Pavilion at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin, there are two suspected positive COVID-19 cases among staff members, but none among residents.