Alexandria, VA

More than half of Alexandria’s COVID-19 deaths were residents in long-term care facilities, the city’s Health Department reported today.

The department reported that 15 fatalities out of the 26 COVID-19-related deaths in the city lived in long-term care facilities, equating to 58% of total deaths.

That is higher than the statewide average of 54% of total cases that occurred in long-term care facilities, according to a city press release.

There are also now 848 cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The Virginia Department of Health has reported eight reported outbreaks of the virus in the city, six occurring in long term care facilities, one that occurred in an educational setting and another at a “congregate” setting. Alexandria is home to five skilled nursing and four assisted living facilities.

As of April 28, there were 13 residents at Hermitage Northern Virginia (5000 Fairbanks Avenue) that tested positive for COVID-19 — 12 health care residents and 1 assisted living resident. Like other long-term care facilities in the city, the Hermitage restricted visitation, closed its dining rooms and cancelled all of events for its residents.

“Steps have been taken to isolate the third floor of the health care center to ensure our infection control standards are the best they can be,” notes a Hermitage press release. “The one positive assisted living resident is in quarantine in their apartment.”

Most fatalities related to the virus have been people over the age of 50, although the highest numbers of those infected are in their 30s and 40s. There has been one death of a person in their 20s.

“While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, people over age 65 and people with underlying medical conditions are at much greater risk of severe disease that may require hospitalization, intensive care treatment including mechanical ventilator support, and even death,” according to the city.

As previously reported, the Alexandria Health Department is seeking additional data on cases in Alexandria.

Here’s the latest age breakdown of deaths and new cases in Alexandria:

  • 80+     —10 Deaths, 37 cases, 16 hospitalizations (Four new cases)
  • 70-79 — Seven deaths, 45 cases, 22 hospitalizations (One new death, four new cases)
  • 60-69 — One death, 77 cases, 17 hospitalizations (Three new cases)
  • 50-59 — Six deaths, 115 cases, 23 hospitalizations (One new death, one new case)
  • 40-49 — Zero deaths, 166 cases, 14 hospitalizations (12 new cases)
  • 30-39 — Zero deaths, 207 cases, 13 hospitalizations (Eight new cases)
  • 20-29 — One death, 115 cases, two hospitalizations (Nine new cases)
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 43 cases (Six new cases)
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 34 cases, one hospitalization (Two new cases)

According to the city:

Why Long-Term Care Facility Residents are at Higher Risk

COVID-19 Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted many conditions that led to 129 cases of COVID-19 in a long-term residential care facility in Washington state in late February to early March 2020, of which 23 patients died. These conditions included staff members working while ill, staff members working in more than one facility, inadequate familiarity and adherence to infection control practices, difficulties in acquiring personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer, and delayed recognition of signs and symptoms of potential COVID-19 infections.

What AHD is Doing to Support LTCFs

AHD has longstanding, close relationships with all LTCFs in Alexandria, and routinely provides them guidance and recommendations on infection control and mitigation. Since early 2020, AHD has been working with the LTCFs to help them prepare for COVID-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, AHD has synthesized and distributed the latest CDC and VDH guidance to all facilities. AHD has also developed a comprehensive response system that includes assessing and training facilities for best practices in infection prevention and control; helping to equip facilities with personal protective equipment (PPE) by assessing needs; and coordinating deliveries from multiple sources (such as VDH, the Strategic National Stockpile, the Regional Hospital Coordinating Center, and the Virginia Department of Social Services) depending on the facility type and its associations.

AHD has created a dedicated team of staff members and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers who conduct assessments and provide intensive one-on-one coaching and guidance to facilities and their staff in infection control prevention training, as well as for a rapid response when an outbreak occurs to mitigate the risk of disease spread.

To reduce the likelihood of LTCF workers unintentionally spreading illness, AHD has advocated for enhanced business models in Alexandria LTCFs, to include providing all staff a livable wage, benefits including paid sick leave, enhanced training, and guaranteed full-time employment, so that staff do not need to work at multiple facilities to support their families.

AHD has also notified Alexandria LTCFs of COVID-19 outbreaks in other LTCFs in northern Virginia, so Alexandria facilities can exclude workers from the other facilities until they complete their quarantine periods. To protect patient and facility confidentiality, AHD does not publicly disclose the names of facilities experiencing outbreaks.

What You Can Do For Your Loved One

If you have a loved one in an Alexandria LTCF, here are some actions you can take.

  • Use AHD’s 14 questions to ask your loved one’s LTCF to find out what steps they are taking to protect their residents and staff.
  • Stay connected with your loved one. Although you are not able to visit in person, stay in touch via phone, video chat, email or letters and cards to check on and boost their physical and mental health.
  • Visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus to learn more about how every resident can take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Staff photo by James Cullum

 

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