Local nursing home testing done, partial results show no positive cases

by Kate Evans

COVID-19 coronavirus testing began in all 17 Stonerise Healthcare skilled nursing centers around West Virginia on Friday, April 24. The testing was to be administered over the next several days. Testing here at the Berkeley Springs Center has been completed for both residents and staff, said a facility spokesperson.

Tests were administered by Stonerise Healthcare clinicians under the direction of the West Virginia National Guard and LabCorp, West Virginia’s COVID-19 testing vendor.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued an executive order on April 17 mandating the testing of all state nursing home patients and staff members.

As of Monday, The Berkeley Springs Center had 77 current patients and had reported 24 negative COVID-19 tests on Stonerise’s testing dashboard. There were no positive test results being reported as of Monday morning.

Stonerise officials said 127 staff members at the Berkeley Springs Center were also tested for COVID-19. The Stonerise dashboard does not have a column to report staff test results, but any positive results would have to be reported to the Morgan-Berkeley County Health Department and would show up on the county’s case reporting.

Berkeley Springs Center administrator Charles Griffith said that all of their residents were tested for the virus last Thursday and that they were waiting for the rest of the results.

None of the statewide Stonerise nursing facilities currently has any positive COVID-19 cases except for their Eastbrook facility in Charleston, which had 16 positive cases and 89 negative test results out of 105 patients.

The Stonerise Healthcare website has posted testing information from each of its facilities as to the number of current patients and the number of negative tests and positive tests. The information is to be updated daily.

Dr. James Malone, Stonerise Healthcare Chief Medical Director, noted that based on what they’ve learned from testing and community spread that individuals can test positive for COVID-19 without having previously experienced or presented any symptoms. Many have the virus and don’t know that they do, he said.

“For this reason, we expect our centers will have employee and patient positive cases,” Malone said.

“If a patient tests positive for the virus, regardless of symptoms, they will transition to a COVID-19-ready unit for their safety and the safety of those around them. These units are in place at each of the 17 skilled nursing centers supported by Stonerise,” according to an April 23 Stonerise Healthcare press release.

Patients will be removed from the total negative confirmed COVID-19 cases if a follow-up test produces a positive result. Patients are removed from the total confirmed COVID-19 positive test result numbers if a follow-up test shows a negative result.

Stonerise Healthcare say they continue efforts to keep patients and employees safe and healthy, which include restricting visitor access, continually sanitizing buildings and supplies and providing equipment and training to employees. The agency has 3,000 employees statewide.