Bran­der­mill Woods

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NEWS -

Public con­cern boiled over Thurs­day with the news of a COVID-19 out­break at Bran­der­mill Woods, a re­tire­ment com­mu­nity in Ch­ester­field County that re­ported five res­i­dents of its mem­ory care unit and four em­ploy­ees had tested pos­i­tive for the virus.

The fam­ily of one Bran­der­mill

Woods res­i­dent voiced alarm about Vir­ginia poli­cies for test­ing the res­i­dents and em­ploy­ees of long-term care fa­cil­i­ties.

“Long-term care com­mu­ni­ties are do­ing the best they can with the re­sources they have,” said Julie Lewis, a Ch­ester­field na­tive and New York res­i­dent whose fa­ther lives in the Bran­der­mill Woods as­sisted liv­ing in the same build­ing as the mem­ory care unit. “When will some­body stand up and help them?”

In Rich­mond and Hen­rico, public health of­fi­cials have been more ag­gres­sive in “point-preva­lence” test­ing of all res­i­dents in af­fected fa­cil­i­ties since a COVID-19 out­break killed 49 res­i­dents of Can­ter­bury Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion & Health­care Cen­ter in western Hen­rico County. Test­ing of all res­i­dents and staff at Can­ter­bury in late March found that more than half of the 92 res­i­dents who tested pos­i­tive then for the dis­ease had not shown any of its symp­toms.

The Vir­ginia Na­tional Guard will as­sist Hen­rico health of­fi­cials in test­ing res­i­dents and staff in por­tions of Cedarfield Health Care Cen­ter, where three res­i­dents have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19, as well as two in the re­tire­ment com­mu­nity’s in­de­pen­dent liv­ing apart­ments.

The Ch­ester­field Health Dis­trict — with 20 deaths in Ch­ester­field and five in Colo­nial Heights — says it plans to work with the Na­tional Guard in wide test­ing in some lo­cal longterm care fa­cil­i­ties, but the health di­rec­tor said the de­part­ment’s gen­eral pol­icy is to limit test­ing to peo­ple who show symp­toms of the dis­ease.

“Fa­cil­i­ties them­selves have the op­por­tu­nity to do as much test­ing as they want to do through pri­vate lab­o­ra­to­ries,” Dr. Alexan­der Sa­muel said in a news me­dia brief­ing on Thurs­day.

How­ever, Bran­der­mill Woods cur­rently re­lies on the lo­cal health de­part­ment for test­ing, based on COVID-19 symp­toms, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Char­maine Preiss said in an in­ter­view on Thurs­day. “If some­one presents with the symp­toms, they will be tested.”

The fa­cil­ity — which in­cludes as­sisted liv­ing and health care units in one build­ing and in­de­pen­dent liv­ing apart­ments in an­other — has or­dered test­ing and other scarce sup­plies to deal with the out­break. How­ever, Preiss said, “At this point ... our ac­cess to test­ing is lim­ited.”

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