Expanded nursing home testing has doubled the county’s COVID-19 case count since the beginning of the month, with over 40% of St. Mary’s COVID-19 cases at the county’s largest long-term care facility, according to health department data now being released daily.
Results from recently completed universal testing show the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home’s confirmed cases represent over 94% of cases at long-term care facilities in the county, and over 40% of cases in the county as a whole. The results come after the veterans home tested every resident and staff member for COVID-19, as mandated by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in late April.
In St. Mary’s County, 12 people have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to health department data, and 138 of the 338 total confirmed cases have recovered or been released from isolation.
County health department data says 92 residents and 45 staff members at the veterans home have tested positive, and nine COVID-19 deaths occurred at the veterans home as of Monday, Dana Burl, a spokesperson for the Maryland Veterans Administration, said. She said she does not know how many might be hospitalized, and five have recovered or have been released from isolation.
The home has clinical staff who assess residents to determine if they need to be hospitalized, Burl said. The veterans home houses around 375 residents and employs 400 individuals.
Six staff members and two residents at Chesapeake Shores nursing home on Great Mills Road have tested positive as of Monday, with no deaths. No cases have been reported at the St. Mary’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown, according to Monday’s data.
No COVID-19 deaths have been reported at other local long-term care facilities, a county health department spokesperson said.
Universal testing of residents at Charlotte Hall Veterans Home was completed by last Thursday, with lab results usually taking one to four days to return, a health department spokesperson said Monday.
Universal jail testing completed
At the county adult detention center in Leonardtown, all inmates and staff have been tested, Cpl. Julie Yingling, a sheriff’s office spokesperson, said Monday, but results are pending to be released later this week.
“It takes about three to five days” for the jail to get its results, she said.
Inside the jail, most regular visitors, such as GED instructors and families in for in-person visitation, have not been entering the facility since late March, but some day-to-day operations, such as meals, which are brought directly to day rooms, have not changed, according to Yingling.
The jail’s work release program was also suspended in late March.
The staff at the detention center is “very well equipped” with protective equipment, including surgical masks, N95 respirators and face shields, and inmates are given a surgical mask upon entry and two cloth face masks, which they keep when they leave the detention center, Yingling said.
The Southern Maryland Pre-Release Unit, a small detention area in Charlotte Hall, confirmed one staff case last week.