5 dead at Chesterfield nursing home after coronavirus outbreak; relatives say they’ve been left in the dark


CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Five residents are dead and more than 100 have been infected with the coronavirus at a nursing home in Chesterfield.

The outbreak continues at the Laurels of Bon Air, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.  The facility says it is doing everything it can to limit the spread of the virus. Some family members of residents claim that they’ve been left in the dark, however. According to them, the nursing home wasn’t transparent about initial cases. Moreover, some relatives told 8News they learned about the outbreak from yesterday’s news report, rather than a call from anyone employed at the nursing home.

8News’ investigation continued Tuesday morning at the nursing home. There, camera crews spotted windows wide open on a day that yielded temperatures in the 40s.

According to the facility, as of Tuesday, Dec. 1, five people has died from the virus, while 62 residents and 17 staff members are currently infected with the deadly disease.

One woman, whose father was recently at the Laurels of Bon Air for rehabilitation, writes to 8News, “This facility is not run properly.” 

She disclosed that her father moved in on Saturday, Nov.7, and no one at the facility mentioned anything about positive COVID-19 cases. Yet, the Virginia Department of Health says the state agency was notified of an initial case, two days earlier, on Thursday, Nov. 5. 

The woman told 8News that her father had contracted the virus and then passed it to his wife. The woman who wrote to 8News also claims she’s called the nursing home several times, but no one calls her back.

The Laurels of Bon Air declined our requests for an interview. Ryan Zimmerman, a spokesman for Laurel Healthcare Company, did, however, share a statement with 8News:

We sincerely apologize to families who may feel frustrated. This has been a challenging time for everyone. We provide updated and current information for our residents, families and responsible parties whenever possible. As part of our commitment to transparency, we have a dedicated COVID-19 Resources section on our website that includes facility data, mitigating actions, visitation updates and other resources. When updated general facility information is available, it is disseminated in a widespread fashion such as email, which is more time-efficient for communicating. In addition, we have activated our marketing department to assist with phone coverage at the facility. Should resident families call with questions, we will make every effort to respond promptly.

The facility has sent multiple emails to resident families over the last week with updates concerning this current outbreak. There was an initial delay in individually notifying families by phone of positive test results to ensure a conversation could take place, due to the demands on staff while they were focused on responding to the test results. However, all responsible parties of positive residents were notified of test results by phone no later than Friday of last week. Please understand that skilled nursing facilities like The Laurels follow federal regulations to contact a resident’s responsible party—the individual designated to receive information about the resident and his/her care. That individual may share information with other family members at his or her discretion.”

Full statement from Ryan Zimmerman, a spokesman for Laurel Healthcare Company

Another family member worries the facility may be rooming COVID-positive patients with COVID-negative patients in the interim.  It’s a complaint 8News has heard from several employees as well. The relative adds that their loved one has had no symptoms but “has been in so-called quarantine with a resident who obviously is sick.” Her family member wants to be moved.

8News has been told residents who test positive are getting care in a COVID-19 containment unit.  8News was also told that residents, staff and any essential external personnel are screened daily for symptoms.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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