HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - The number of deaths at the Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico continues to rise due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility.
As of Friday, April 10, there was one new death in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths due to coronavirus to 40.
Jim Wright, the medical director at Canterbury, said out of the total number of confirmed cases the death rate at the center is currently 31 percent.
The center says many of the positive residents are asymptomatic carriers showing no sign of being ill, while others have symptoms that range from mild to severe.
“We die a little bit with every death that occurs in our facility," Canterbury’s Medical Director Dr. Jim Wright said.
He says the ordeal has led to trauma for not only the elderly patients who live there but also for the devoted staff that cares for them.
“It’s traumatic of course for the roommates of the residents who died, for their friends who have lived with them for some cases for 10, 15 years at the facility,” Wright said.
He says one of the biggest challenges they faced was staffing, not only before the outbreak but especially during it.
“There was a lot of fear and as a result, we had difficulty attracting our regular staff to the building and also engaging staff from other agencies,” Wright said.
That has since changed Wright says. Nurses from Connecticut have come on board to help and the health department has sent crews here to make sure the entire population here was tested. More than two dozen staff members here tested positive for the virus but Wright says as of Friday, they’re all doing much better and can continue to monitor patients who are positive.
Dr. Wright says Canterbury is determined they’ll get through this within the next couple of weeks.
“The atmosphere now is one of hope.”
A total of 35 residents have tested negative for the virus.
All of Canterbury’s residents and staff members have been tested.
“In a long-term care facility, you’re in a unique circumstance where there’s high touch and a lot of going from one patient to another with a high volume of healthcare workers,” said Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula
Initially, county officials said Canterbury representatives were not responsive when the showed up to assist. Wright says he wasn’t on-site when that happened but offered an explanation.
“My read on that was there was a visit from the county during our most critical phase of the crisis and they rightly so wanted to discuss our response and how they could help. We were not able to accommodate that request because as I said, we were dealing with a crisis and staff shortages at the time, we simply didn’t have the bandwidth to sit down with them and talk with them,” he said.
Now, all parties involved are cooperating to help save lives and get through the outbreak.
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