SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WDVM) — A virus outbreak claimed the lives of three elderly residents and left more than 50 sick at Greenspring retirement living facility in Fairfax County. At least three more illnesses were reported on Monday.
Tuesday, the Fairfax County Health Department updated the number of residents who are affected and who have died. Sixty-three residents of 263 are now affected. Nineteen employees have also reported symptoms of upper respiratory illness.
Officials say the cause hasn’t yet been identified but it’s a respiratory illness that’s been causing symptoms often associated with the flu.
“So far have been about 60 people who have developed symptoms ranging from a cough for other upper respiratory symptoms all the way up to pneumonia,” Dr. Ben Schwartz, Director of Epidemiology and Population Health for the Fairfax County Health Department said Monday.
Since June 30, 23 of the 60 that were ill have been hospitalized. Two people died. Tuesday, the health department reported one more death.
“What we do know is that these were individuals who developed pneumonia, were sent to the hospital but also were older people who had complex medical problems,” said Dr. Schwartz.
Experts say it’s not surprising for an outbreak to occur at an assisted living facility. However, the time of year has health officials concerned.
“When you have older adults who have complex medical problem and diseases that affect their immunity… typically they occur in the winter or spring and may be associated with the virus-like influenza,” Dr. Schwartz said.
In a statement to WDVM, Greenspring said:
“Greenspring’s highest priority is the welfare of those who live and work on campus. In keeping with this commitment the community has acted with an abundance of caution, and in partnership with the Fairfax County Health Department, has taken all necessary measures to fully implement proven infection prevention and control strategies. We remain vigilant in our response and will continue to provide frequent and transparent updates to residents, staff and family members.”