COVID-19 Outbreak Reported in Parksley Nursing Home

Shore Health and Rehabilitation in Parksley.

By Carol Vaughn —

A long-term care facility in Accomack County has an outbreak of COVID-19, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Shore Health and Rehabilitation Center in Parksley notified the health department of the outbreak Dec. 9, with 17 cases reported as of Dec. 14.
The facility also reported an outbreak in May, with 15 cases reported before the outbreak was considered closed.
No deaths have been reported due to either outbreak.
The Post has contacted Saber Healthcare Group, which operates the Parksley facility, for comment.
“We are working very closely with this facility to help in any way we can and they are regularly testing both staff and residents, as they have been, based on federal guidance and level of transmission within our community,” said Jonathan Richardson, chief operating officer of the Eastern Shore Health District, Tuesday.
The health department tracks cases in long-term care facilities, identifies and reaches out to close contacts, and helps facilitate testing if needed, Richardson said, adding that local long-term care facilities for the past several months have been doing their own testing.
Heritage Hall in Nassawadox had a large outbreak of COVID-19 in spring, with 114 cases and 20 deaths reported before it was over.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced in June the VDH would start releasing the names of individual long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks.
The numbers reported for outbreaks include both residents and staff, according to the health department website.
An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of illness with onset dates within one incubation period.
Legislation signed by Northam Oct. 21 requires the Virginia Department of Health to share a public-facing dashboard of COVID-19 outbreaks reported to the agency.
That is expected to go live Friday, Dec. 18, and will include the name of the facility, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with the outbreak, the locality where the facility is located, the date VDH was notified, and the status of the outbreak.
The new dashboard will be posted on the COVID-19 Data Insights page,
The dashboard will be updated once a week “so that the data can stabilize and appropriate communications can occur before information is publicly posted,” according to a letter about the legislation sent by VDH to long-term care facilities.
HB 5048 requires the health department to make available to the public on a VDH-maintained website information about outbreaks of communicable diseases “at any medical care facility, residential or day program, service or facility licensed or operated by any agency of the commonwealth, school, or summer camp currently required to report an outbreak” to the VDH, according to a summary of the bill.
Richardson said the Eastern Shore currently is experiencing a high level of community transmission, with many cases “easily and directly linked to another positive case, either within the same household or someone who was in close contact.”
“The rise in cases isn’t primarily linked to just a couple outbreaks as it was in the spring,” he said, adding, “We know people are tired of ‘rules’ but wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing remain our best defense to help protect our neighbors.”

Accomack County reported 25 new cases and Northampton County reported five new cases Tuesday.
Accomack County reported nine new cases, one hospitalization, and one death Wednesday, and reported 12 new cases, two hospitalizations, and one death Thursday. Northampton County reported one hospitalization Wednesday and two new cases Thursday.
Since Dec. 1, Accomack has reported 199 cases, eight hospitalizations, and two deaths due to COVID-19.
Northampton since Dec. 1 has reported 33 cases, three hospitalizations, and zero deaths.
The current 7-day percent positivity rate for PCR test in the Eastern Shore Health District is 12.2% as of Dec. 17.

Vaccines were to begin to be administered to health care workers on the Shore this week, but Richardson said the health department does not expect vaccines to become widely available for the general public “until probably spring.”
“In the meantime, we need to do everything we can to look out for one another,” he said.

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