On Wednesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice confirmed the outbreak of coronavirus in 34 of the state’s long-term care facilities. One such facility which has been hit particularly hard is the Springfield Nursing Center in Lindside in Monroe County.
On August 20, the Monroe County Health Department announced the identification of 45 active cases of coronavirus at Springfield Nursing Center, including 39 new positive-results returned on August 18.
No official update regarding the outbreak has been made since then. However, on Monday, the health department did confirm through social media the death of a 72-year old female Springfield Center resident. As of 4 p.m. this past Tuesday, health department officials reported 72 active cases within Monroe County, and 124 cases in total. More than a third of all cases in the county have been identified from the Springfield Center.
This is not a situation exclusive to West Virginia. Long-term care facilities have continued to be a source of concern all across the country. These facilities are typically inhabited by older-adults who don’t require 24/7 care or supervision. Unlike nursing homes, these facilities do not themselves provide professional medical care. Therefore they are neither governed, nor supported by Medicare, making regular Covid-19 testing less frequent due to the costs and restrictions of private insurance providers.
On Tuesday, federal health officials announced that plans are in place to distribute rapid coronavirus-tests to long-term care facilities around the nation, including those located in West Virginia. The tests, which have been manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, deliver results in approximately 15 minutes. Health officials believe this will be helpful identifying cases in their early stages, thus reducing the possibility of an outbreak. According to Brett Giroir, who is the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Administration, plans are also being made to distribute the tests to senior day-care centers and home-health agencies across the United States.