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The Woodview grapples with virus amid spike in Halifax County cases / September 14, 2020

Sentara Woodview has stepped up COVID-19 testing after a number of residents at the South Boston long-term care facility were diagnosed with the coronavirus in recent days.

“We have residents who have tested positive and being [treated] in quarantine” in accordance with CDC and state health department guidelines, said Carol Flynn, a media relations representative for Norfolk-based Sentara Health. While confirming reports of new cases at The Woodview, Flynn declined Sunday to say how many residents there have tested positive.

Flynn said all residents have been tested for the virus. Other sources of information — including the Woodview’s messaging to families of residents — indicate that heightened testing will continue in the days and weeks ahead.

Family members and residents say they are being told that two or three persons are in quarantine, information that could not be immediately confirmed. Sentara also has curtailed visits to “the bubble,” a protected space where family members and residents are able to have shielded, face-to-face contacts.

Unlike other surrounding localities, Halifax County has so far avoided a virus outbreak at its local long-term care facilities. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains data on nursing home coronavirus outbreaks, which account for roughly 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. Sentara Woodview has had one confirmed positive test result for COVID-19 since the pandemic struck; Berry Hill Health and Rehab has had none. No one had died of the virus at either of the two South Boston homes.

By contrast, in Mecklenburg County, 27 persons tied to nursing homes in Clarksville and Chase City have died of COVID-19. In Danville, 11 nursing residents have died, according to an online CMS database, which is current through Aug. 30.

The Virginia Department of Health is not yet reporting a new nursing home outbreak in the Southside Health District, which spans Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties. The total number of outbreaks — defined as places where two or more persons test positive for the virus — now stands at 12.

The most recent outbreaks in the three-county area have occurred at “congregant settings,” a catch-all category that includes workplaces, adult day centers, churches, businesses and other locations. Outbreaks at nursing homes, health care centers, schools and prisons are reported as separate categories by VDH. The health department does not specify the locations of outbreak sites.

Over the past seven days, Halifax County’s COVID-19 caseload has grown at twice the rate of the previous seven-day period. From Sept. 7-13, Halifax saw the number of positive COVID-19 test results rise from 235 to 289. That’s a 54-person increase from the previous seven days, Aug. 31-Sept. 6, when 24 persons were newly infected by the virus.

Over the weekend, Halifax County reported its first back-to-back double-digit increase in coronavirus diagnoses: 10 persons on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Halifax County since March is now 289.

The local caseload remains well below that of most of the county’s neighbors. Figures through the Sunday daily updates by the Virginia and North Carolina departments of health are as follows:

» Halifax: 289

» Mecklenburg: 634

» Pittsylvania: 906

» Charlotte: 96

» Campbell: 383

» Henry: 953

» City of Danville: 745

» Person County, N.C.: 383

» Caswell County, N.C.: 272

» Granville County, N.C.: 1,640

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