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Ten more deaths from COVID-19 in West Piedmont Health District
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Ten more deaths from COVID-19 in West Piedmont Health District

From the Martinsville-region COVID-19/coronavirus daily update from state, nation and world: Sept 16 series
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COVID-19 hit a dubious high on Monday, claiming 10 victims in the area – the West Piedmont Health District’s biggest single day for deaths and nearly a third of all its deaths to date from the virus.

Monday brought the area’s total deaths from COVID-19 to 48 and made a dozen in the past two days. The death total for September is now 14.

Those 10 deaths represent nearly 20% of all COVID-19 deaths statewide based on figures released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Health.

Meanwhile, the area’s infection rate is so high that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued guidelines of testing all residents and employees of long-term care facilities twice a week.

In the district, the majority of the deaths – four – were from Patrick County, and there were two deaths each in Henry County, Martinsville and Franklin County. Those are the first deaths in Franklin County since it recorded the district’s first casualty back in April.

An email sent Sept. 2 to Mulberry Creek Rehab residents and family members and provided to the Bulletin states, to remain compliant with CMMS guidelines, “Counties with a positive infection rate of 10% or greater will be required to test for COVID-19 twice weekly, which includes testing all residents and employees. These counties are categorized by CMS as ‘red’ Counties.”

Stanleytown Health and Rehab, which has had an outbreak of 54 patients and 27 staff members to test positive for the virus, has been relatively calm on that front recently.

Only one Stanleytown resident currently is known to have the virus, Stanleytown Administrator Kennedy Flynn wrote by email, and that resident “was discharged to the hospital last month. We have no positive patients currently. I would like to thank our dedicated staff for their tireless efforts to enable us to reach this point.”

Additionally, two staff members still have not recovered from COVID-19. They “have been held out of work pending recovery and clearance by the Henry County/Martinsville Health Department.”

Eleven Stanleytown residents have died of COVID-19, the last one three weeks ago, she said.

King’s Grant Retirement Community in Martinsville has not had any COVID-19 cases among residents, but five of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, Administrator Tammy Shorter wrote by email.

“All 5 employees are doing fine and have all returned to work,” she wrote.

Calls and emails to administrators of the area’s other long-term care facilities requesting updated figures on their coronavirus cases were not returned by the end of the business day Tuesday: Anthony Brunicardi of Blue Ridge Health and Rehab in Stuart, Joy Hairston of Landmark Center in Stuart and Bob Nelson of Mulberry Creek Rehab in Martinsville.

Sovah Health spokesperson Kelly Fitzgerald said the hospital is “unable to provide specific details about patients treated in our facilities.”

In the West Piedmont Health District, there were 22 new cases in all reported Tuesday, including eight in Franklin County, six in Henry, five in Patrick and three in Martinsville. The city also had a new hospitalization.

  • Henry County has had 963 cases, with 105 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.
  • Martinsville has had 366 cases, with 57 hospitalizations and nine deaths.
  • Patrick County has had 255 cases including 48 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.
  • Franklin County has had 280 cases, 15 hospitalizations and three deaths.
  • Danville has reported 767 cases, and Pittsylvania County has had 914.

“The threat this invisible virus poses cannot be overstated, and we continue to mourn with their (COVID-19 victims) families,” Flynn wrote.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

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