23 COVID-19 deaths reported at Alabama veterans home


This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs confirmed 23 COVID-19 deaths among residents of the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, according to a release from Assistant Commissioner Bob Horton.

Horton said there are 41 active resident cases still at the home. Twelve of the 44 employees who got the virus are now back to work after recovering from the virus.

Horton said that the home was shown to be following guidelines to prevent infection to the best of its ability.

“At the request of ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis, two independent reviews by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, April 20, and the Alabama Department of Public Health, April 21, show that the home has followed all VA, CDC, and state health guidelines for the use personal protective equipment and other preventive measures,” he wrote.

On March 12, the homes began restricting entry to employees, medical personnel, and families whose relatives were about to die. The National Guard also helped clean the Bill Nichols home by assigning Task Force 31 to disinfect rooms, hallways, common areas, and offices.

The William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette also reported three cases among its employees after they tested positive in April, but no residents have tested positive so far. The homes in Huntsville and Pell City also have no cases.

These three homes were also helped by the National Guard.

Horton said when a resident tests positive, they are put inside isolation areas for treatment. Employees with symptoms are also not allowed back in the facilities.

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