CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — At least five people at a nursing home in West Virginia's capital have the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday as they wait on dozens of test results.
Four patients and one staffer of the Eastbrook Center nursing home have tested positive with 52 results still pending, according to the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
The first case at the facility was detected Sunday night. Health officials have since conducted onsite tests of 124 residents and 39 staffers. Remaining employees have been contacted to set up testing appointments with the the health department.
A spokeswoman for Eastbrook's owner, Stonerise Healthcare, said three people who tested positive are in isolation at the facility and that the center is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines to prevent further spread.
The facility is at least the second nursing home in the county to report a case after a resident at Brookdale Charleston Gardens tested positive late last month. The county health department has said additional residents tested at Charleston Gardens had negative results.
Republican Gov. Jim Justice has warned of the virus spreading among the elderly, calling one hard-hit center, the Sundale nursing home in Monongalia County, a “ horror story " when nearly 30 people there tested positive. A 76-year-old man from Sundale has since died from the virus.
Justice has tightened existing restrictions in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Harrison, Monongalia and Kanawha counties after the areas emerged as virus hot spots that make up most of the state's growing caseload. In those six counties, the governor has directed local health departments to establish maximum occupancy rules for stores, urged businesses to have employees work from home and limited gatherings to no more than five people. State police will help the counties enforce the rules.
The move intensified previous orders from Justice, who has issued a statewide stay-home order, directed nonessential businesses to close, shuttered schools until at least April 30 and pushed back the primary election from May 12 to June 9.
Four people have died and at least 412 people have tested positive for the virus, state health officials said Tuesday. Testing remains limited, meaning most people now spreading the highly contagious virus may not know they have been infected, and state health officials have admitted their count lags behind the actual total as results pour in from counties around the state.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, and the overwhelming majority of people recover. But severe cases can need respirators to survive, and with infections spreading exponentially, hospitals across the country are either bracing for a coming wave of patients, or already struggling to keep up.