Virus claims eight at Windsor facility

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2020

By Stephen Faleski

Staff Writer


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Of the 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by the Virginia Department of Health within Windsor’s ZIP code, 63 of those are residents of Consulate Health Care, a 114-bed long-term care facility located along Courthouse Highway. Eight of them have died.

That’s according to data the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released at the end of May in accordance with a new rule that requires nursing homes to report their COVID-19 case totals to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

At the state level, the VDH is reporting a total of seven outbreaks for its Western Tidewater Health District, which includes Isle of Wight County, Southampton County and the cities of Franklin and Suffolk. Five of these are reported to be at long-term care facilities, with the sixth at a correctional facility and the seventh at a congregate setting. Consulate notified residents and their family members of an outbreak in April via a letter from its executive director, Gary James, which stated — without specifying the number of cases — that some residents and staff members had tested positive for the virus. The Smithfield Times had obtained a copy of the letter from a family member of a resident and last reported on the situation in mid-May.

Despite the eight reported deaths at Consulate, the VDH was reporting only three COVID-19-related deaths in all of Isle of Wight County as of Monday morning out of 145 confirmed cases county-wide.

According to Dr. Todd Wagner, director of the WTHD, the eight deaths at Consulate are accurate. These deaths occurred in late April through the end of May but were not all reported on the VDH website, he said.

By Tuesday, Isle of Wight was reporting eight COVID-19 deaths, indicating that the deaths at Consulate account for all COVID-19-related deaths in the county. The number of confirmed cases also jumped overnight to 149, which Wagner confirmed were four new cases confirmed at private labs rather than the result of correcting the county’s reported deaths.

James, when asked about the 63 cases and eight deaths at Consulate, deferred to Jennifer L. Trapp, vice president of corporate communications for Consulate’s Florida headquarters.

“The care center staff have worked tirelessly to protect themselves and the residents from the threat of COVID-19, and as a result, CHC of Windsor has had no new cases in residents or staff, and no new symptomatology since May 11,” Trapp said. “All residents currently at Windsor have recovered. We grieve with families that have lost loved ones as a result of this virus and we will continue to do everything possible to protect our staff and those entrusted to our care.”

The VDH reports that as of Tuesday morning, 258 Windsor-area residents have been tested for COVID-19. That’s out of an estimated 2,700-plus residents living within Windsor’s town limits, plus another roughly 3,500 living in the unincorporated parts of the county with a 23487 ZIP code.

At Riverside Healthy Living Community, a long-term care facility in Smithfield, only three residents are suspected of having COVID-19 and none have been confirmed according to the CMS data. That facility reports no COVID-19-related deaths.

As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 originating from within a Smithfield ZIP code according to VDH data. That’s out of 529 people having been tested, with the total population of the 23430 ZIP code including over 8,000 town residents and another roughly 8,000-plus living at Smithfield addresses outside the town limits.