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COVID-19 surfaces at Hundley Center; mass testing set

SoVaNow.com / July 22, 2020
The Hundley Center long-term care facility in South Hill has reported its first COVID-19 case.

“A staff member working in the Hundley Center has tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member was using appropriate safety protocols and personal protective equipment when at work,” said Todd Howell, vice president of professional services in a statement issued by VCU Health. “VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital sent a letter to families of residents at the Hundley Center, as well as called the families to inform them of the situation.”

The infected employee will in quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days, according to hospital officials.

Howell added that residents and staff who were in contact with the infected employee “were tested and all results were negative. Employees who interacted with this staff member are self-monitoring, as are all CMH employees in all locations.”

The single confirmed case does not rise to the level of an outbreak. Under Virginia Department of Health standards, an outbreak is declared when there are two or more lab-confirmed coronavirus cases at a single location.

More than three weeks ago, Hundley Center administrators scheduled what VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital spokesperson Jamie Jones called a “prevalence survey testing” to be conducted by the National Guard. All residents and staff at the Hundley Center will be tested for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Jones said this testing was set up under guidelines of the Virginia Health Department for the phased opening of the facility to outside visitors, and is not related to the employee who recently tested positive.

Like most long-term care facilities across Virginia, The Hundley Center has been closed to visitors since March 14.

When asked what protocols the Hundley Center is following to protect the health and safety of both the residents and the staff, Jones said, “We routinely handle infectious diseases, but beyond our normal precautions, CMH instituted multiple additional precautions, following CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] guidelines, including shutting the Hundley Center to visitors on March 14. “

The Hundley Center is operated by VCU-CMH.

“All staff members in the Hundley Center wear masks the entire time they are working unless they are isolated in a private office. Hand sanitizers are readily available for staff to disinfect their hands after patient care. The Hundley Center also has a dedicated unit for new resident admissions to try to contain infections,” he said.

The long-term care facility also requires all staff and anyone who enters the building to have a temperature check and a health assessment at the start of every shift. Staff who have symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 are sent home until they meet CDC guidelines to return to work.

Earlier this year, VCU-CMH readied space in the former healthcenter facility on Buena Vista Circle in South Hill to care for COVID-19 patients should the need arise. So far, the site has not been used.

“We do not currently use ‘Old CMH’ for care but this could be an option if the need arose,” he said.

The current hospital protocol calls for residents to be isolated and for dedicated staff to care for these residents. “Employees would be required to put on and take off additional PPE (personal protective equipment) when working with the residents and those employees would only work within the dedicated unit and not come into contact with any other residents,” Jones said.

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