COVID-19

A local long-term care facility has one case of coronavirus.

On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health’s Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District reported it was working with a Madison long-term care facility after a resident testing positive for the virus, also known as COVID-19. The district’s staff was working to identify potential sources of exposure, as well as working with facility management to ensure all precautions were being taken to protect the residents and staff.

“When COVID-19 occurs in a setting where there are many older people with underlying health conditions, we are concerned,” Rappahannock-Rapidan Health Director Dr. Wade Kartchner said. “We’ll be working very closely with the facility over the coming days to protect other residents and staff and prevent further spread. Working in partnership with the facility management, Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District is investigating potential sources of exposure and will continue to provide guidance on infection control.”

Long-term care facilities have proven to be high among virus cases. The Virginia Department of Health is tracking 53 outbreaks at facilities. The 53 outbreaks have resulted in 554 cases of the virus with 34 deaths.

Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico has been particularly hard hit by the virus. As of last week, there had been 40 virus-related deaths at the facility. Canterbury Medical Director Jim Wright said out of the total number of confirmed cases at the center, the death rate was at 31 percent.

As of Monday, Madison County has six confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from four last week.

On Monday, numbers from the Virginia Department of Health reflected 69 cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District—20 in Culpeper, 28 in Fauquier, six in Madison, 14 in Orange and one in Rapphannock County. One week ago, the district had 39 cases of the virus. The neighboring Thomas Jefferson Health District had 142 cases Monday, up from 85 cases last week—49 in Albemarle, 33 in Charlottesville, 23 in Fluvanna, five in Greene, 27 in Louisa and five in Nelson. Statewide, 41,401 people had been tested with 5,747 cases of the virus, 903 hospitalizations and 149 deaths.

Earlier this month, the federal government granted a major disaster declaration to aid in the virus response in Virginia. Federal disaster assistance was requested by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam March 30. A major disaster designation provides federal public assistance for all areas in the state affected by COVID-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent. This allows state agencies, local governments, and certain non-profit organizations to purchase additional supplies and receive reimbursements for COVID-19 related costs under its Public Assistance program. In addition, the declaration authorizes federal agencies to provide direct emergency assistance to Virginia.

Local, state and federal declarations of emergency remain in place.

Also still in place is the governor’s stay at home order which lasts through June 10. The order requires Virginians to remain in their places of residence except to obtain food, beverages, goods or other services from essential businesses; seek medical attention, essential social services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement or emergency services; take care of older individuals, animals or visiting the home of a family member; travel required by court order to facilitate child custody, visitation or child care; engage in outdoor activity including exercise providing individuals remain six feet apart; travel to and from one’s residence, place or worship or work; travel to and from an educational institution; volunteer with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and leave one’s residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, at the direction of law enforcement or at the direction of another government agency. The order also cancelled all reservations at private campgrounds for stays of less than 14 nights and required higher education institutions to cease all in-person classes and instruction and cancel all gatherings of more than 10 individuals. The institutions are allowed to continue remote learning and perform critical research or essential functions providing that social distancing requirements are maintained. An earlier order closed K-12 public and private schools through the end of the school year; banned gatherings of more than 10 people; closed recreation and entertainment businesses; prohibited dine-in at eating or beverage establishments; and mandated that essential businesses could stay open, but must adhere to social distancing and sanitizing practices. Essential businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers that sell food and beverage products; medical, laboratory and vision supply retailers; electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tables and other technological items; automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers and automotive repair facilities; home improvement, hardware, building material and building supply retailers; lawn and garden equipment retailers; beer, wine and liquor stores; retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores; retail located within healthcare facilities; banks and other financial institutions with retail functions; pet and feed stores; printing and office supply stores; and laundromats and dry cleaners. Non-essential businesses must limit all in-person shopping to 10 patrons within the establishment at one time, adhere to social distancing and sanitize common surfaces. Professional businesses were encouraged to utilize telework as much as possible. Businesses in violation may face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Originally, mandates were to remain in place through April 23 at 11:59 p.m. Monday’s executive order increases that timeline, extending mandates through June 10. Northam’s mandates do not apply to health care or medical services; access to essential services for low-income residents like food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies or operations of government.

On Monday, Governor Northam announced that current models reflect paused growth of the epidemic due to social distancing efforts. While data and testing remain limited, current trends suggested the statewide hospital bed capacity will be sufficient in the immediate future.

“We are proud to be working with some of the top minds in the country on these projections,” Governor Northam said. “While the data is limited, we can draw a few key conclusions: First, social distancing is important, and it’s working in Virginia. Second, while we continue to work closely with our hospital systems and other health care partners to prepare for a potential surge in acute cases, we are optimistic about our statewide hospital bed capacity. Finally, it’s clear we need to be responsible about how we ease restrictions, so we can keep Virginians safe and protect public health.”

Northam was expected to announce an updated timeline for the continued closure of non-essential businesses Wednesday.

Most patients with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms, but a small proportion can have more serious illness. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms can appear within 14 days of exposure.

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, RRHD encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

As the COVID-19 outbreak expands, recommendations may change. RRHD is working closely with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the best possible guidance for the community.

For general questions about COVID-19, community members may call the RRHD COVID-19 Hotline at 540-316-6302. For the latest on COVID-19, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus

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