At least one death and dozens of COVID-19 cases are linked to an outbreak at Commonwealth Senior Living, the Virginia Department of Health revealed last week.
The state agency reinstated its online dashboard for certain outbreaks that was removed when Virginia’s state of emergency ended in June.
Because of the rapid rise in COVID-19 infections — driven by the highly transmissible delta variant — State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver granted an exception to resume listing outbreaks by facility name, citing power in the Code of Virginia.
Before the online tool emerged again, only basic details were available to the public, and local health department officials would not comment on outbreaks.
The dashboard includes information on outbreaks in medical care facilities, residential or day programs licensed by the health department, Department of Social Services or Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, summer camps, K-12 schools, colleges and universities and long-term care facilities, a news release reported.
The data covers outbreaks reported after Aug. 1.
As of Friday, there were 40 cases of COVID-19 associated with the outbreak at Commonwealth Senior Living reported on Aug. 9. At least one death is indicated on the dashboard. When there are fewer than five cases or deaths, the counts are noted with an asterisk to protect anonymity, the health department reports. Commonwealth’s death column has an asterisk symbol.
Earlier this month, Mark Hubbard, a spokesperson for the local long-term care facility, said many of the infections were breakthrough cases occurring in residents and staff members who are fully vaccinated.
The outbreak emerged a few days before Halifax County recorded 39 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day.
Commonwealth’s outbreak is still considered active. According to the health department, 28 days must pass without a documented case before moving out of the active status.
The delta variant has brought a wave of new cases and created outbreaks throughout the commonwealth.
“Reporting all outbreaks is important to inform our constituents of COVID-19 transmission in their localities to help them better protect themselves and their families,” a news release from the health department said. “Outbreaks on this dashboard represent specific, identifiable outbreak events that were investigated by local health departments in collaboration with the facilities listed.”
The dashboard is updated weekly on Fridays.
“Be aware that there are inherent delays in public reporting of real-time COVID-19 data and it may take time for each outbreak to be investigated and reported,” the news release warned.