New COVID-19 cases found at all 4 Ala. veterans homes

New COVID-19 cases found at all 4 Ala. veterans homes
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs says multiple positive case of COVID-19 have been confirmed at each of its four homes around the state. (Source: WAFF)

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is dealing with a new outbreak of coronavirus involving multiple residents and employees around the state.

Sixteen people have tested positive for COVID-19 at William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette, the department confirmed Monday. That includes nine residents and seven employees.

These are the first positive cases at that facility as ADVA continues universal testing at each of its four homes around the state.

Though none of its residents are currently positive at any other facilities, the same is not true for multiple employees. A total of 14 at the other three homes now have the respiratory disease.

Those include seven at Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City, three at the Floyd “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville, and four at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City.

“The need for continued universal testing at the state veterans homes is critical to reducing the risk of spreading the virus,” said ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis. “By continuing to test on a regular basis, we are in a better position to mitigate the spread of the virus in the homes if we can identify those asymptomatic carriers of the virus.”

The latest positive tests come after the department completed its first universal testing of all residents and employees at the end of June, finding no residents were positive for the virus.

Nichols was particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. Ninety-four of its residents tested positive for the virus since early April, and while some recovered, the deaths of 35 are being attributed to COVID-19.

“The homes continue to treat the pandemic as pervasive and a very high risk. That is why we continue to use the same protective measures and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. Now is not the time to let our guard down. As Alabama has seen troubling numbers of new COVID-19 patients over the past few weeks, we need to be even more diligent,” Davis added.

The elderly are particularly at risk from coronavirus and residents of the state’s long-term care facilities make up nearly half of all Alabama’s pandemic-related fatalities.

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