By Saturday, there had been 26 deaths in Alexandria, Virginia, due to COVID-19. Fifteen of them (58%) were residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted-living communities.
The death rate is reflected across Virginia, where 54% of deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak have come in similar facilities.
There are nine long-term care facilities in Alexandria, and the city is pushing those businesses to change their models to minimize the further spread of the coronavirus and prevent similar outbreaks in the future.
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In a news release Saturday, the city explained that it is encouraging these nine facilities to offer its employees a series of enhancements that might prevent further infections: a living wage; full-time hours so they do not need to work at more than one facility; paid sick leave along with other health benefits; and enhanced training on how to handle the outbreak of an infectious disease.
The majority of the workers in these jobs are women of color who earn $30,000 annually or less, and cannot afford to miss work when they are sick. Because they work so closely with vulnerable residents, they can in turn bring the virus back to their families.
Since the virus continues to spread in communities throughout the United States, Alexandria said it wants to be sure its long-term care facilities make certain they are doing their best to make sure their vulnerable residents do not get sick.
The city said it is constantly monitoring these facilities to make sure they have adequate training and personal protective equipment. In addition, it is working with the nursing homes to make sure its staff members are well trained in preventing and controlling infections.