Galax nursing home accounts for nearly half of city's positive cases

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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A Galax nursing home accounts for nearly half of the small, rural town's positive COVID-19 cases.

Monday, numbers on the

's website showed the small City of Galax had recorded 205 positive COVID-19 cases, 29 hospitalizations and ten deaths.

While the state updates numbers daily, a nursing home in Galax is also keeping track of its own data.

updates its website every Friday, most recently recording 52 positive residents along with 38 positive staff members.

It accounts for nearly half the City of Galax's total positive cases.

A spokesperson for Galax Health and Rehab told WDBJ7 Monday seven residents had died from the virus at the facility. Another 14 died in hospitals nearby.

They say the virus was brought into the facility by a contracted therapist in early May.

Dr. Karen Shelton, director of the

, wouldn't discuss specific long term care facilities, but explained how the deaths are recorded by the Virginia Department of Health.

"Once the death has occurred, we do have to await verification from the institution where the death occurred as far as receiving medical records and verifying the death as the result of COVID before it can be entered into the system," she said.

Shelton added it may take time for cases and deaths to be accurately reflected on the state's website. She said the health district was continuing to work with the facility on patient care.

The spokesperson for the Galax nursing home said they're still strictly adhering to CDC guidelines. He reiterated they're doing all they can to protect patients during a tragic time.

Shelton could not confirm the percentage of positive cases in the district that could be attributed to long term care facilities.

As of Monday, there were 568 cases in the entire health district, and 22 recorded deaths.

Shelton said there have been a lot of cases in the Twin Counties community of the City of Galax, Grayson and Carroll Counties. But, she reported that they are seeing a little decline each day in cases. Meanwhile, in the part of the district that includes Washington Smyth and Wythe Counties, officials are noticing a slight increase as Virginia phases back open. She made note that there were cases of community transmission.

Of the 63 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the district, 48 of them were for people over the age of 70.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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