‘It’s incredibly sad that we lost two Central Virginians’: 2 patients at Henrico rehab center die from COVID-19


HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Two residents of Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County have died from COVID-19, the first two coronavirus-related deaths in Central Virginia.

The latest fatalities bring the state’s death toll to nine.

Dr. Danny Avula, Director for Henrico and Richmond Health Districts says virus-related deaths are heartbreaking.

“It’s incredibly sad that we lost two Central Virginians,” Dr. Avula said. “I hope that the take-home message for so many of us who have been watching this and have been seeing what’s happening in our community – and some of us are still saying’ you know what maybe it’s overblown’ or ‘maybe this isn’t a big deal’ – I hope the reality of people in our community losing their lives to this disease gives us some perspective.”

A total of 10 people at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Right now, four remain hospitalized and four others are being treated on site.

Dr. Danny Avula believes there could soon be more cases.

“There are other individuals who are starting to show symptoms,” Dr. Avula said. “We will continue to work with the medical staff and monitor them carefully.”

Medical staff at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare told 8News they have an entire isolation wing where they move sick patients. Dr. Avula says, unfortunately, the risk for transmission at care facilities remains high. 

Three Canterbury Healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus and are currently at home in self-quarantine.

“This has been a different kind of threat that healthcare workers have ever really been exposed to,” Dr. Avula said. “The combination of a very contagious virus with the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) with our lack of ability to really effectively test – people feel like they’re in a situation, like they don’t know what they’re fighting.”

The facility continues to monitor all residents and screen employees for symptoms. 

Workers with respiratory symptoms and fever are not allowed inside.

Even before the first case, the Rehabilitation and Healthcare center suspended visitations and will follow that protocol for the foreseeable future. Family and friends of loved ones at the center are encouraged to visit virtually by text, phone call, or video.

Dr. Avula says senior citizens are among the most vulnerable for developing severe illnesses from COVID-19. Individuals with underlying illnesses and compromised immune systems are also at higher risk.

Health officials say the following steps should be taken to protect the health of the surrounding community”

  • Stay home if possible
  • Wash your hands often.-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing
  • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick


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