Gainesville Health and Rehab Center continues to fight a COVID-19 outbreak.

The facility’s administration announced to families last week that eight patients have died from the virus and 45 have tested positive, according to the message from Reid Scholar, the center’s head administrator.

An additional 16 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Five residents at the long-term care facility have recovered from the virus.

A recipient provided the center’s message to InsideNoVa.

In the May 19 email, Scholar wrote that the center is “minimizing the number of non-essential personnel who enter the center” while screening staff members for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Scholar and other administrators declined to comment for this story.

“We have limited movement throughout the center and increased the frequency of cleaning with a focus on high touch areas,” Scholar said in the message.

Statewide, 192 of Virginia’s 330 documented outbreaks have occurred inside long-term care facilities, resulting in 731 deaths — more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. Long-term facilities have accounted for 13 of the 15 documented outbreaks in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Gainesville Health and Rehab is operated by Commonwealth Care of Roanoke, which runs two other facilities in the area: Manassas Health and Rehab and Dulles Health and Rehab Center. Last month one of them, the Dulles center announced that 63 patients and 19 staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. Eleven patients had died there.

Lillian Gonzalez is one of the eight residents at Gainesville Health and Rehab who died after becoming infected with COVID-19. The 98-year-old passed away May 3, according to her daughter, Alicia Houston. Nine days earlier, Gonzalez had been exhibiting symptoms and was taken to Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, where she tested positive. Instead of remaining at the hospital, Gonzalez was told that unless she was going to be put on a ventilator, it would be easier to care for her at the nursing home, so she was taken back to Gainesville Health and Rehab, Houston said.

On May 2, her condition worsened and she was taken back to the hospital, but ultimately decided to return to the nursing home shortly thereafter, according to Houston.

“She knew she was dying. She did not want to die at the hospital … she wanted to go back to the nursing home,” Houston said.

Houston and her husband went to see Gonzalez one last time the morning of May 3. Looking at her mother through her bedroom window, Houston could tell how much discomfort Gonzalez was experiencing.

“She was in horrible pain and discomfort,” Houston said. “I think seeing me made her even feel more upset, that I was watching her like that.”

A few hours later, they received a phone call from the facility saying that she had died.


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