Twenty-one residents and eight employees at Sundale Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care facility in Morgantown tested positive for COVID-19 by Thursday afternoon, nine more cases than reported the previous day.
Two Sundale residents are in intensive care — one at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and the other in Mon Health Medical Center. Two other positive Sundale residents are also at Ruby, and another Sundale resident is in Mon Health. Sixteen COVID-19-positive Sundale residents remain in isolation in the facility.
Dr. Carl Shrader, Sundale medical director and WVU Medicine physician, said at Sundale’s briefing Thursday, test results for 71 residents were negative and results for 47 employees were also negative for the coronavirus. Tests results for one resident and one employee were still pending.
Three Sundale residents refused to be tested for COVID-19 for various medical reasons, including dementia. They are not showing any symptoms of the virus, said Shrader, adding those patients will be treated as though they are infected and the families have been notified.
Lisa White, Sundale’s administrator, said employees who have tested positive for the virus are encouraged to use sick days and vacation days and then file for unemployment.
“Those claims will be expedited,” said Michael Hicks, president of Suncrest Medical, the parent company of Sundale.
The community has also stepped up to help with unsolicited donations of food and supplies for residents and staff. Deliveries are being made to the facility and the staff has ample protective gear.
“Families are buying us stuff and leaving it outside the door,” he said. “Chick-fil-A brought us food today.”
But some local response to the coronavirus outbreak at Sundale has been troubling for employees and their families, Shrader said.
There have been occasions in the last week when a Sundale worker has walked into a local business and been refused service and told to leave. Other Sundale employees who rely on public transportation have had difficulty getting to work. And some family members of Sundale employees have been told to leave their workplace and work from home, Shrader said.
“Not one case of COVID-19 looks alike,” he said. “The reason they are worried is that they know testing is done here. We’re no more infectious than anyone else in the
Sundale officials are also reaching out to family members of the 98 residents to answer questions they may have. And because there is no visitation allowed, Shrader said arrangements are being made so families can have video conferences with their loved ones.
“Details are being emailed out,” Shrader said.
Another senior citizen facility in West Virginia reported a case of coronavirus Wednesday. A resident of Brookdale Charleston Gardens tested positive, prompting a team from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority to test all 81 residents.
Shrader said no one from Brookdale reached out to him for advice.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 76 confirmed COVID-19 cases in West Virginia and 1,779 negative cases. The results from 43 tests were pending, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
The state had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 17.