Update: July 29, 2019
No new cases of illness have occurred in Heatherwood since July 15, 2019. Results of earlier testing submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated rhinovirus, a virus that causes the common cold. The facility continues normal operations.
Update: July 19, 2019
The Fairfax County Health Department continues to monitor and work with Greenspring to institute appropriate prevention measures to stop further illnesses and those actions are having a positive result. In the assisted living and skilled nursing areas (Garden Ridge), there have been no illnesses reported for the last few days and residents who have been ill are recovering.
In the independent living section of Greenspring, which includes approximately 1,700 residents and is located in separate buildings from Garden Ridge, there is no outbreak of respiratory illness. While there is some illness in the independent living section, it is not considered to be an unexpected or unusual number of ill residents. Some illness is to be expected in a community of this size for older residents.
Because of the outbreak in the assisted living and skilled nursing sections, Greenspring has instituted enhanced surveillance for illness in the independent living areas. Infection control measures, implemented in the independent area out of abundance of caution, include temporarily stopping group activities, other than dining, and screening residents for illness as they arrive at the dining rooms. Residents have been informed of the respiratory illness in the Garden Ridge area by robo calls and on the internal website and have been asked to self-report any symptoms to the facility administration.
Independent living residents have been asked to not visit the Garden Ridge section, and to self-isolate if they are ill. Extra cleaning of high-touch surfaces and communal areas is in place.
Additional laboratory testing from CDC has not identified a specific cause for the increase in respiratory illness. Test results showed several bacteria that are known to colonize the nose and throat and may not be the cause of infection. In addition, several specimens were positive for rhinovirus, the cause of the common cold.
We will continue to monitor the situation and support the facility in its efforts to prevent further illness.
Update July 18, 2019
In our statement on July 17 regarding the Greenspring situation, the Health Department included information about another long-term care facility, Heatherwood in Burke, Va. For the purposes of providing greater clarity on the situation at Heatherwood, the Health Department notes the following:
During the publicity surrounding the Greenspring outbreak investigation, staff at Heatherwood in Burke proactively reached out to the Health Department to request guidance for ensuring the safety and health of the residents within their assisted-living facility. While they have experienced some cases of respiratory symptoms, there is no evidence of any connection to the situation at Greenspring. Most of the ill residents at Heatherwood have recovered. The facility has been working very closely with the Health Department to ensure that their infection control measures reflect the Health Department’s current best practices.
Update: July 17, 2019, 12:30 p.m.
CDC tested 17 specimens from ill Greenspring residents. No cause for the outbreak was identified. While bacteria were detected from some specimens, further testing is being conducted to determine whether the bacteria is the cause of the infections. The facility continues to apply recommended infection prevention measures. In addition, to reduce the risk of an outbreak occurring in others areas of the campus such as independent living, infection prevention measures are being implemented throughout the Greenspring community. To date, there is no evidence that the outbreak is affecting other areas beyond the assisted and skilled nursing units.
The Health Department is also investigating an outbreak of respiratory illness at Heatherwood, an assisted-living facility in Burke, VA. There is no evidence of any connection between this and the outbreak and Greenspring. The Health Department is working with Heatherwood to ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce the risk of infection and keep residents safe. Samples are also being tested at CDC labs.
Dr. Benjamin Schwartz will make himself available to speak with the media today at 2:00 p.m. at 10777 Main Street, suite 310, Fairfax. VA.
Update: July 16, 2019, 5:30 p.m.
The Health Department is now reporting a total of 63 individuals out of 263 residents in the assisted living and skilled nursing sections of Greenspring have become ill. No new hospitalizations have been reported, but there are now three deaths associated with the outbreak. The Health Department does not know the full medical history and the extent to which the respiratory illness contributed to the deaths. Additionally, the Health Department has been informed that 19 employees have also reported symptoms of upper respiratory illness since the outbreak began on June 30. Results of testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still pending.
Update: July 15, 2019, 3:00 pm
Fairfax County Health Department continues to investigate an outbreak of respiratory illness at Greenspring, a long-term care facility with assisted living and skilled nursing care, in Springfield, Va. Over the last 14 days, a total of 60 individuals out of the 263 residents in this facility have become ill with symptoms ranging from upper respiratory symptoms (cough) to pneumonia. Of the ill individuals, 23 have been hospitalized. There has also been a total of two deaths associated with the outbreak. The individuals who died had complex health conditions. The Health Department does not know the full medical history and the extent to which the respiratory illness contributed to the deaths. No cause for the illnesses has yet been identified, but the Health Department is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct testing for viruses and bacteria that may cause respiratory illness. There continues to be excellent collaboration between Greenspring and the Health Department, and appropriate measures have been taken to reduce the risk of infection and keep residents safe.
Original release (July 11, 2019): 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. The Health Department was recently informed that over the last 11 days a total of 54 individuals out of the 263 residents in this facility have become ill with respiratory symptoms ranging from upper respiratory symptoms (cough) to pneumonia. Of the ill individuals, 18 have been hospitalized and two have died. The individuals who died were hospitalized with pneumonia. Both were older adults and had complex medical problems. The Health Department does not know the full medical history and the extent to which the pneumonia contributed to the deaths.
A specific cause has not yet been identified but additional tests are being done by the Virginia Department of Health and Inova Health System. While illnesses continue to occur, there have been no new hospitalizations in the past couple of days.
Respiratory outbreaks at facilities for vulnerable, older adult populations are not uncommon, as we typically see 5-10 per year. This outbreak differs in that it is occurring in July whereas most outbreaks of this kind are in the winter/flu season. There has been excellent collaboration between Greenspring and the Health Department, and appropriate measures have been taken to reduce the risk of infection and keep residents safe, including closing the facility to new admissions, cancelling group activities, keeping ill residents in their rooms, and increasing cleaning.
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