RICHMOND — The number of deaths from COVID-19 at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare reached 39 on Thursday, surpassing what had been the record for the coronavirus pandemic set by the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., outside of Seattle.
Canterbury reported four more deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours at the skilled nursing facility in western Henrico. Medical Director Dr. James Wright had confirmed 35 deaths on Wednesday night.
The number of residents infected with COVID-19 at the center fell from 88 to 84 on Thursday.
Canterbury said 35 residents — of 164 when the outbreak began in mid-March — have tested negative for the virus and remain in an isolated wing of the facility with separate staff attending them.
The center also said the number of infected health care workers remains at 25, as it has for more than a week.
Virginia’s COVID-19 death count has more than doubled in the past three days, from 54 on Monday to 109 Thursday, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health, which lags several hours.
The largest portion of deaths have occurred in Central Virginia, which recorded 41 deaths as of VDH’s report Thursday, in spite of the fact that Northern Virginia has recorded the highest number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Loudoun, Alexandria and Fairfax health districts alone have accounted for more than a quarter of all of the confirmed cases in the state.
However, a significant lack of testing ability and delays in labs processing results has stunted the state’s ability to track how many people in Virginia are truly infected with the virus.
The state health department has declined to provide deaths by locality, siting privacy, in spite of the fact that neighboring Maryland and North Carolina release the information.
One Henrico County nursing home, Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, has accounted for the majority of deaths reported in Central Virginia – with 35 residents having died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
Hospitalizations of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in the state also rose slightly, from 1,289 Wednesday to 1,296 Thursday, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s COVID-19 dashboard. Of those hospitalized, 469 – or about 38% — required intensive care, and 285 – or 23% — were on a ventilator.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday looked at confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in 14 states throughout March. Its findings suggested that adults over age 65 have higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and the majority of people (nearly 90% in the sample set) had underlying medical conditions – with the most common being hypertension, obesity, chronic lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The Virginia Department of Health and the hospital association do not report ages or presence of health conditions for hospitalizations nor deaths in the state.
The state’s death toll and hospitalizations continue to rise in spite of improving projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that suggest that social distancing has helped reduce the projected death toll in Virginia. As of Wednesday, the projections estimated that Virginia would reach its peak resource use on April 20 and a total of 891 people could die by August 4.
These projections depend on continued strict adherence to social distancing through the end of May and can change by the day.
Virginia hospitals also reported having more ventilators on hand Thursday, with a total of 2,734, compared with 2,574 reported Wednesday. Fewer hospitals said that they were close to running out of personal protective equipment, with 7 reporting they were having difficulty with replenishing their supplies in the next 72 hours, compared with 11 Wednesday.