• 55°

Third outbreak at Windsor nursing home

Consulate Health Care of Windsor is experiencing a third outbreak of COVID-19.

The 114-bed long-term care facility notified residents and their families on March 11 that five residents and four staff members had tested positive that week. Windsor Weekly obtained a copy of the facility’s letter from a resident’s family member, who asked not to be named.

As of March 18, the latest outbreak at Consulate wasn’t on the Virginia Department of Health’s online list of long-term care facilities reporting active cases, nor in the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s online database.

“Based on the current positivity rate, we will continue to test staff twice a week and residents will be testing every 3-7 days in accordance with CMS and CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control] guidelines,” said Consulate’s executive director, Senece Midgett, in her letter to residents and their families.

In-person visitation at Consulate continues to be restricted, though family members may schedule window visits, video calls and phone calls — or drop off clothing and pre-packaged food items. According to an AARP online dashboard of nursing home COVID-19 rules by state, in-person visits are only allowed in Virginia if the facility hasn’t had an active outbreak in the past 14 days.

According to Midgett’s letter, all Consulate employees undergo a stringent screening process before entering, including temperature checks on every shift. If at any time an employee cannot pass the screening, he or she will not be allowed to work. Personal protective equipment, including masks and gowns, are being utilized as necessary in combination with infection control and sanitation practices, she states.

“As we continue to follow all CDC and CMS guidelines, we are also staying in very close communication with local and state health officials for guidance to ensure that we are taking all the appropriate steps in caring for residents and staff and preventing the spread of the virus,” Midgett said. “We remain confident in our ability to manage this disease; resident and staff safety remains our highest priority.”

According to Bon Secours Mercy Health spokeswoman Jenna Green, Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin hasn’t transported any COVID-19-positive patients to Consulate, nor has any other Bon Secours facility. A Sentara spokeswoman didn’t say whether Obici Hospital in Suffolk or any other Sentara facility had transferred any COVID-19-positive patients specifically to Consulate, but confirmed the hospital system does sometimes send COVID-19-positive patients to nursing homes.

“Patients with COVID-19 whose symptoms are improving may be discharged back to their residence or caregivers when clinically indicated,” said Sentara spokeswoman Brittany Vajda. “Nursing homes across Virginia have learned to manage COVID-19 and are accepting new admissions and returns from hospital stays with robust safety protocols.”

Consulate experienced its first COVID-19 outbreak in April 2020, which peaked at 63 confirmed cases and eight deaths. Two additional cases — the minimum needed for the VDH to declare an outbreak — occurred in December that year. Neither resulted in an additional fatality, according to CMS data.