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Five deaths reported at long term care home / November 23, 2020

Hospitalizations are rising steadily in Halifax County from the coronavirus, mirroring trends around the U.S. that have hospital officials scrambling for beds and personnel to care for sickened patients.

Separately, a federal agency is reporting that five residents at the former Woodview, now South Boston Health and Rehab, have died of COVID-19 through the first full week of November.

Reporting by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates the first death at the nursing home happened during the week of Oct. 25, with four more deaths recorded in the week that ended Nov. 8. It is the most current information available through the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system, available online at

Halifax County’s total covid caseload has risen by 37 in the past seven days, with 14 positive diagnoses reported in a single day, on Friday, Nov. 20. The total number of reported cases in Halifax since the start of the pandemic stood at 774 through Sunday.

Five more people have been hospitalized with the disease since Tuesday, bringing the total number of Halifax residents requiring hospital treatment to 21.

Similar ominous numbers are showing up in nearby localities. In Charlotte County, 25 people have been hospitalized through Sunday, more than doubling the county’s 12-person patient caseload on Oct. 28. In the City of Danville, nine persons have been hospitalized in the past seven days, bringing the total to 143.

In Mecklenburg County, by contrast, the hospital caseload over the past seven days, from Nov. 16-22, has remained constant at 48 people. In Pittsylvania, six people have been sent to the hospital in the past seven-day period, raising total hospitalizations to 101.

Updated figures from the Virginia Department of Health on the nursing home outbreaks at South Boston Health and Rehab and Berry Hill Health and Rehab are due out Monday. Previously, VDH reported 204 cases of COVID-19 at the former Woodview home, and eight cases at Berry Hill.

Data on nursing home deaths by CMS and the CDC differ from the numbers provided by the Virginia Department of Health on the same topic. Explaining the disparity, the VDH advises that due "to different reporting requirements and case classifications, timelines, and other factors, the CMS data will likely be inconsistent with data reported by VDH.

"For NHSN [National Healthcare Safety Network], facilities are being asked to report new confirmed and suspected cases to try to get at the incidence of COVID-19. Meaning, on the day the facilities report data to NHSN, they should only be reporting new confirmed or suspected cases since the last time they reported.

"A Confirmed case is defined as a resident or staff/facility personnel with new laboratory-positive COVID-19.

"A Suspected case is defined as a resident (or staff) with signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 as described by CDC’s guidance but does not have a laboratory positive COVID-19 test result. This may include residents (or staff) who have not been tested or those with pending test results. It may also include residents (or staff) with negative test results but continue to show signs/symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

"For VDH, we follow the CSTE [Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists] Case Definitions for COVID-19. The VDH surveillance case definitions are specific, especially for cases that are considered ‘probable’. The NHSN definitions for residents and staff are not based on epidemiological linkages or other laboratory results that are based on symptoms and possible exposure by being in a facility. Because the NHSN definition for suspected cases is broader and focuses solely on the signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, there will be differences between what is being counted at the state vs. what is being reported to NHSN."

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