By Denise Dunbar | [email protected]
Clarification: The data presented in this article regarding cases at long-term care facilities is cumulative, not point-in-time.
Statewide, more than 60% of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in long-term care facilities. The coronavirus raced through many LTCFs in the pandemic’s early days, before the facilities instituted lockdowns and before many of them had obtained sufficient personal protective equipment.
The problem was exacerbated by age: the death rate per case rises steeply with each 10-year age bracket. The death rate per case is zero statewide in the 0-9 age group, but it’s 27.6% for people age 80 and older, with 973 deaths out of 3,530 cases as of Wednesday’s data reported on the Virginia Department of Health website.
Alexandria has an almost identical 27% death rate per case for people age 80 and older, with 25 deaths out of 93 cases.
All 11 LTCFs in Alexandria have had outbreaks of COVID-19, according to the VDH website. The website defines an outbreak in a LTCF as “the identification of two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of illness, with onset dates within one incubation period” of 14 days. The counts associated with each outbreak consist of both residents and staff.
Only seven of the 11 Alexandria LTCFs with outbreaks have specific outbreak data listed on the website: Goodwin House-Alexandria, Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Envoy of Alexandria, Hermitage in Northern Virginia, Silverado Alexandria, Sunrise of Alexandria and The Fountains at Washington House.
VDH lists three categories of LTCF outbreaks – outbreak closed, outbreak in progress and pending closure. Alexandria does not have any LTCFs in the outbreak closed category, which the website defines as occurring “when two incubation periods (28 days) have passed without onset of new illness.”
Two Alexandria LTCFs – Goodwin House-Alexandria and Woodbine – are in the outbreak in progress category. According to the website, Goodwin House-Alexandria’s outbreak was reported just last week, on June 30. The facility has had 14 cases since the beginning of the pandemic but zero deaths.
Woodbine’s outbreak was reported on April 17, and the facility has had 40 cases, but the number of deaths was not listed. The VDH website explains that if no deaths have occurred, the deaths category lists zero, and if five or more deaths have occurred, the actual reported number is listed. But to protect patient identity, if one to four deaths have occurred in a facility, the exact number of deaths is not listed.
Alexandria has five more LTCFs in the pending closure category. Facilities in this category have had 28 days pass without any new reported cases but their case has not yet been closed in the Virginia Outbreak Surveillance System.
All five Alexandria LTCFs in this category had outbreaks that were reported in April, and all have experienced COVID-19 deaths, according to data on the VDH website. Envoy of Alexandria has experienced 56 cases and 10 deaths since April 3; Hermitage has experienced 30 cases and five deaths since April 16; Silverado has had 30 cases and nine deaths since April 11; Sunrise has had 21 cases since April 30, but the number of deaths was not listed; and The Fountains has had 27 cases and an unlisted number of deaths since April 24.