COVID-19 outbreaks hit state mental institutions in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two more patients have died of COVID-19 at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital, bringing the total number of deaths to nine at the state psychiatric institution.

The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that two patients infected during an outbreak that began in mid-July died earlier this month.

State behavioral health officials said Piedmont had no positive cases of COVID-19 among its employees or patients on Tuesday, but 13 employees and 21 patients have recovered from infection by the virus since the outbreak began.

At Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents — the only state psychiatric facility for youth — 12 of the 18 patients receiving treatment at the center have tested positive for COVID-19, as have 25 employees. The shortage of healthy staff prompted the state to stop accepting admissions to the 48-bed hospital on Sept. 9.

The pandemic has affected 13 behavioral health institutions, including nine mental hospitals, two training centers for people with severe disabilities, a medical center primarily for the disabled, and a rehabilitation center for civilly committed sex offenders.

One state hospital employee has died of the disease. The employee, a nurse, worked at Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Danville.