Major COVID-19 outbreak reported at a Jefferson County nursing home

West Virginia

CHARLES TOWN, W. Va. (WDVM) — A nursing home in Jefferson County, West Virginia has reported a major COVID-19 outbreak.

Willow Tree Healthcare Center in Charles Town is the first skilled nursing facility in Jefferson County and the entire Eastern Panhandle to have a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus, infecting 38 residents and 17 staff members.

Dr. Terrence Reidy, health officer for Jefferson County Health Department, stated that they do not know how the first patient was infected but the patient went to the hospital for a medical concern unrelated to COVID-19.

“The first person who was identified had some symptoms and was tested at the hospital a little over two weeks ago. And as soon as that result was found, they immediately notified me and they notified the nursing home, then tested the person’s roommate and some of the staff who had been taking care of and found that the roommate had COVID as well.”

This outbreak was first reported two weeks ago in mid-October as just a single case in a nursing home can be considered an outbreak.

“So the definition of an outbreak is simply one, that’s just the public health definition for right now for the state. But as far as a large outbreak with the transmission or infection occurring within the nursing home, you know, that this is the first one.”

Communicare is the parent company of the Willow Tree Healthcare Center and released a statement regarding the outbreak reading:

“Everyone at the facility is saddened by the death of these residents. Some of our staff have cared for these folks for years and they are our family.”

The statement also detailed how the facility will be proceeding following the outbreak and stated, “Dealing with a global pandemic like COVID is uncharted territory for any healthcare provider.”

In order to keep so many families updated, we are doing several things: 

  • We do weekly wellness calls and meetings with management and each resident, or their responsible parties.
  • We notify residents (and their responsible parties if they have diminished capacity) of updated case counts. For families, we do personal calls and letters/email but we have also started doing automated calls in addition to one-on-one calls to make sure everyone gets the information the fastest way possible. We also let the families know that the DHHR website is updated at 10 AM each day. 
  • If their loved one is affected directly, we do a personal call immediately from the management team to address any concerns and to cover over their care plan.

Dr. Reidy confirmed that three people have died over the weekend and two people are still in the hospital. He also explained that the three people who passed away were still at the nursing home when they died.

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