Southside Health District Investigating COVID-19 in an Assisted Living Facility

April 8, 2020

Media Contact: Lorrie Andrew-Spear,

Southside Health District Investigating COVID-19 in an Assisted Living Facility

(Mecklenburg, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Southside Health District is working with a long term care facility in Mecklenburg, VA on an investigation after receiving positive COVID-19 test results on several residents at the facility. Southside Health District staff is investigating potential sources of exposure and working with the facility management to take all precautions to protect the residents and staff.

“When COVID-19 occurs in a setting where there are many older people with underlying health conditions, we are concerned,” said Health Director Dr. Scott Spillmann. “We’ll be working very closely with the facility over the coming days to protect other residents and staff and prevent further spread. Working in partnership with the facility management, Southside Health District is investigating potential sources of exposure and will continue to provide guidance on infection control.”

Governor Northam has banned social gatherings of more than 10 individuals. Everyone should stay at home except for essential reasons outlined in Executive Order 55. “We all have a responsibility and duty to take this seriously and do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us,” said Dr. Spillmann.

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

  • Stay home as much as possible. This is especially important if you are sick.
  • If you must go out for essential trips like resupplying groceries, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of 10 or more

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