Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.

703-246-2411
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

Outbreak of Respiratory Illness at a Long-Term Care Facility

Health Advisory

SUMMARY:

• Fairfax County Health Department is conducting an outbreak investigation at Greenspring, a long-term care facility with assisted living and skilled nursing care, in Springfield, VA.

• Since June 30, 2019, 55 out of the 263 residents assisted living and skilled nursing care have become ill with respiratory symptoms ranging from upper respiratory illness (cough) to pneumonia. Of the ill individuals, 20 have been hospitalized and two have died.

• A specific etiology has not been identified and additional tests are being conducted.

SUGGESTED ACTIONS:

• Respiratory outbreaks at facilities for vulnerable, older adult populations are not uncommon, with 5-10 reported to the Health Department each year. However, outbreaks in the summer are infrequent. Given this outbreak and as staff may work at more than one long-term care facility across the County, we ask all facilities to maintain a heightened index of suspicion for an increase in the number of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, throughout your facility.

• Respiratory disease clusters should be immediately reported to Public Health. Contact the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Section immediately at 703-246-2433 (normal business hours) or 703-409-8449 (evenings and weekends) to report a suspect cluster and for additional guidance on testing and infection control measures. Do not wait for laboratory confirmation before making a report.

• Long-term care facilities should ensure that proper infection control precautions are put in place for all ill residents. Guidance on precautions and duration can be found on the following CDC webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/isolation/appendix/type-duration-precautions.html. The Fairfax County Health Department is also available to provide guidance on appropriate precautions related to communicable diseases.

• Appropriate handwashing and respiratory etiquette amongst staff and residents are essential to limit disease spread. Please review handwashing and respiratory etiquette policies, trainings, and educational materials to ensure residents and staff are aware of the most recent guidance and no barriers occur to limit handwashing.

• All long-term care facility staff should be encouraged to report any respiratory illness to facility management. Any staff member with documented fever (>100.1°F) should be excluded from work until they are afebrile for 24 hours. Asymptomatic employees who work at multiple facilities, including Greenspring, do not need to be excluded from work.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant