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Coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia senior care facilities are more deadly than most states

About 59 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths in Virginia are connected to long-term care facility outbreaks, per Virginia Department of Health data.

NORFOLK, Va. — Coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia long-term care facilities are more deadly than in most other states, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health and Kaiser Family Foundation.

As of May 5, 405 people have died in Virginia in relation to long-term care facility outbreaks. With 690 confirmed deaths, that means about 59 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths happened in senior centers.

At that mark, Virginia is one of the states with the highest amount of senior center deaths as a share of total state deaths.

The latest data Kaiser Family Foundation shows that on average, among states that report this information, about 31 percent of coronavirus-related deaths happen in nursing homes and care facilities.

That would make the share rate of Virginia senior center outbreaks almost twice as deadly as the national average.

VDH reports 29 long-term care facility outbreaks in Hampton Roads: 

  • Virginia Beach Health District - 8
  • Chesapeake Health District - 6
  • Western Tidewater Health District – 5
  • Peninsula Health District - 5
  • Portsmouth Health District – 1
  • Norfolk Health District – 1
  • Hampton Health District– 1
  • Eastern Shore Health District – 1
  • Three Rivers Health District – 1

Out of these 29 outbreaks, the public only knows about a handful of them. Many senior care facilities have not disclosed information about positive cases and coronavirus-related deaths to residents and family members.

The Virginia Department of Health says it cannot identify the senior care facilities that report outbreaks.

"There are six state codes that prevent the release of that information. Privacy issues are the biggest [concern]… only the General Assembly changing the state codes could make that happen," a spokesman said.

Without transparency from nursing homes reporting deadly outbreaks, it’s difficult to tell why outbreaks are deadlier in Virginia long-term care facilities than in most other states.

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