Should you remove your loved one from a long-term care facility with a COVID-19 outbreak?

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Long-term care facilities across the nation and in Virginia continue to struggle to contain outbreaks of COVID-19. The deadly outbreaks have some families wondering if they should be pulling their loved ones from facilities with cases of the coronavirus.

According to health officials, there are currently 139 coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia. Seventy-seven or 55% of those 139 outbreaks are in a long-term care centers. A state task force led by Dr. Laurie Forlano, Virginia’s Deputy Health Commissioner, is working with these facilities to expand and deploy testing.

Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County where 49 people have died due to COVID-19 has said testing was a struggle there in the beginning. The task force is also working with nursing homes that haven’t had outbreaks to access their infection control practices.

The White House has announced all assisted care facilities are now being required to report potential infectious disease outbreaks directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will be requesting real-time information about outbreaks in an effort to control the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile Dr. Danny Avula, the director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, recently recommended anyone who can to take their loved ones out of facilities with outbreaks.

Dr. Forlano said, “I think if and when that is possible for a family certainly that is an option. I think it is important to acknowledge that not every family is in that position to do that.”

Forlano said her group plans to put out some guidance on how best to do bring a loved one home, if you can. The group, of course, wants to ensure safety.

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