Nine more patients at Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, near St. Albans, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of positives at the facility to 10 after one patient was previously hospitalized for the virus, according to Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
All 75 patients at the nursing home were tested for the virus Wednesday, along with all staff members who were on-site at the time. Arrangements are being made for other staff members to be tested, as well.
A majority of the tests were still pending Thursday evening, according to a news release from the KCHD.
This is the third reported Kanawha County nursing home to undergo mass testing for the coronavirus after a patient tested positive.
“We’ve been talking about a surge, and we’re seeing it,” KCHD Health Officer Sherri Young said in the statement.
The West Virginia National Guard led screening procedures for residents at the facility Wednesday, and John Law, a spokesman for the KCHD, said department staff members were at Riverside working with administrators Thursday.
As of Thursday evening, Kanawha County reported 102 residents testing positive for COVID-19. Of those, 52 are active cases and 50 are closed, according to KCHD.
County officials and municipal leaders are focusing their efforts on slowing the spread of COVID-19, but a new emergency rule issued Thursday by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to create uniform social distancing guidelines for all 55 counties concerns some of them, according to another news release from Kanawha County and the city of Charleston.
The new rule, effective Thursday, contradicts previous policies set by Young and the KCHD through power granted by Gov. Jim Justice. It increases the number of customers allowed in businesses selling 80 percent grocery products to allow three customers per 1,000 feet of space into the store and limits other businesses to two people per 1,000 feet.
Young’s policy, originally implemented April 4 when Kanawha — along with a handful of other counties — was deemed a “hot spot” for the virus, limited two people per 1,000 feet in all businesses still operating.
The new emergency rule at the state level will “supersede any conflicting provisions” previously set by county health boards, including the KCHD, relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
KCHD’s Law said Young is “certainly disappointed” with the rule.
At Justice’s Thursday news conference, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said the new rule falls in line with the state’s efforts to promote social distancing and is meant to make uniform guidelines across the board.