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Local virus death tolls reaches 70; Caroline ICE facility has outbreak

Local virus death tolls reaches 70; Caroline ICE facility has outbreak

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An outbreak of COVID-19 at a local nursing home has led to the 70th virus-related death in the Fredericksburg area while another cluster of illness, at a correctional facility, has caused a spike in Caroline County cases.

The death of a Stafford County man, white and in his 60s, was reported Friday by the Virginia Department of Health. He is one of at least 33 residents of long-term care facilities in the Rappahannock Area Health District who have died from virus complications, according to state data.

Four residents of Woodmont Healthcare Center in Stafford are among the fatalities, said Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer for Genesis Healthcare, which owns the facility. There have been 16 residents and 10 staff members at Woodmont who have tested positive.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19 during this difficult time,” Feifer wrote in an email, “especially the families of the four residents that passed away.”

Meanwhile, Caroline County experienced its highest daily increase since the pandemic began as a result of an outbreak at the Caroline Detention Facility in Bowling Green. Caroline usually has three to four new cases daily, but reported 23 on Friday—and most are related to the outbreak, said Allison Balmes-John, spokesperson for the local health district.

The Caroline center houses federal detainees through a contract with the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and ICE’s website does not reflect the volume the local district suggests.

As of Friday, the website showed four current cases at the Caroline facility, out of a population of 166 detainees, but an ICE spokesperson said there may be a delay in reporting because data has to be validated before it’s posted online.

The ICE site shows nine total COVID-19 cases at Caroline and 5,878 cases, and six deaths, in ICE facilities nationwide since February, when virus testing began.

Detainees at the Caroline facility are being processed for asylum in the United States or removal from the country, according to the center’s website. The facility is surrounded by Fort A.P. Hill, but is not part of the Army base.

Like long-term care centers, correctional facilities in potential for the virus to be spread once it’s introduced into a building, states the Centers for Disease Control. Those detained live, work, eat, study and participate in activities within confined spaces; new people often enter regularly from other facilities; and social distancing may be difficult because of crowded conditions, according to the CDC.

The only other correctional facility in the local health district is the Rappahannock Regional Jail, which has had no reported outbreaks, according to state data.

However, long-term care facilities continue to see increases. There are six facilities in the local health district defined by the state as having outbreaks in progress, and numbers have gone up at Woodmont as well as at two Spotsylvania County facilities. Fredericksburg Health and Rehab has 50 cases, and Cardinal Village, 34 cases, according to Friday’s report.

Also, an outbreak at Brookside Rehab and Nursing Center in Fauquier County has grown to include 93 cases and 12 deaths.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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