UPDATE: Dr. Carl Shrader, Sundale medical director and a WVU Medicine physician, confirms 16 residents tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the facility, as well as four staff members.
Of the patients, three are at Ruby Memorial , two are at Mon Health and 11 are at Sundale. Staff are working to make a defined unit for all the positive patients at Sundaly, so they are together and away from the other patients.
There are 50 patients and 26 staff tests pending.
This is a developing story, check back for more information.
MORGANTOWN — Four patients and three staff members of Sundale Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care facility in Morgantown have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while two additional patients are being treated at Mon Health Medical Center with highly suspicious symptoms, said Dr. Carl Shrader, Sundale medical director and a WVU Medicine physician.
Those positive test results have led to the West Virginia National Guard again being called to Sundale Tuesday afternoon to test the remaining 50 or so patients, and 50 staff members. Sundale has 91 patients total, with an average age of 85.
Shrader said health officials are trying to pinpoint how COVID-19 came into the building and has met with health officials from both the state and Monongalia County to determine this.
“This has been unprecedented,” Shrader said of the cooperation between local, state and federal agencies.
“We’re reviewing the cases, but the symptoms vary so much.”
The four Sundale patients with COVID-19 are being treated at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. The Sundale staffers who tested positive for the virus are self-quarantined at their respective homes, Shrader said.
Sundale’s first COVID-19 case was a woman in her 70s. Sundale officials said her temperature spiked early Sunday morning and she was in some respiratory distress. The patient was tested for COVID-19 and positive results came back Sunday around 4 p.m.
As of Monday, 630 people had been tested in West Virginia for the virus and 20 of those people tested positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, a disaster recovery services company, cleaned the Sundale building, Shrader said.
Despite the fact the results of the additional tests are not yet known, medical providers are urging people maintain social distancing and good hygiene, such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
“For family members of residents at Sundale, we strongly encourage those individuals who’ve visited the facility to contact their provider to determine if a COVID-19 screening test is necessary. If family members have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should stay at home and contact their providers immediately,” said Anthony Condia, vice president of marketing and communications for WVU Medicine.
Both Mon Health and WVU Medicine established drive-through coronavirus testing sites. Tests are being done because it was ordered by a physician and the patient is exhibiting classic symptoms of the virus; difficulty breathing, coughing and a fever based on guidelines from the CDC.
“The state lab can turn around tests in 24 to 48 hours,” said Dr. Christopher Edwards, Emergency Department physician at Mon Health Medical Center. “However, to be tested by the state lab, a physician has to call and get approval from the state.”
The CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association said state nursing facilities are doing all they can to stay on top of the pandemic.
“We were saddened to learn that multiple residents and staff in a West Virginia nursing home have now tested positive for the coronavirus,” Marty Wright said in a statement sent to The Dominion Post.
“We know the virus has a disproportionate impact on our elderly, and our primary focus remains stopping the spread of the virus within this facility and others. Facilities statewide remain vigilant in taking preventative measures to combat the virus and we are grateful to all the local and state officials who have remained in regular contact with facilities around the state to offer assistance,” he said.
West Virginia’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities announced March 10 that visitors would be restricted because of the spread of coronavirus.
“We will continue to monitor the situation at the nursing home in Morgantown, and while not one of our member facilities, we stand ready to help its residents, staff and their respective loved ones in any way we can,” he said.
The West Virginia Health Care Association is West Virginia’s largest trade association representing nursing facilities and assisted living communities.