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US'Respiratory outbreak' under probe at retirement community after 54 fall ill

06:00  12 july  2019
06:00  12 july  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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Two people have died and 18 others have been hospitalized after a " respiratory outbreak " at a Virginia retirement community The Fairfax County Department of Health said that 54 individuals had become ill with " respiratory symptoms ranging from upper respiratory symptoms (cough) to

' Respiratory outbreak ' under probe at retirement community after 54 fall ill . Two people have died and 18 required hospitalization due to a respiratory outbreak at an assisted living facility in Virginia, reports ABC News.

'Respiratory outbreak' under probe at retirement community after 54 fall ill© WTTG The sign for Greenspring Retirement Community is shown in Springfield, Virgina.

Two people have died and 18 others have been hospitalized after a "respiratory outbreak" at a Virginia retirement community, according to officials.

The Fairfax County Department of Health said that 54 individuals had become ill with "respiratory symptoms ranging from upper respiratory symptoms (cough) to pneumonia" in the last 11 days at Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield.

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Two people have died and 18 others have been hospitalized after a " respiratory outbreak " at a Virginia retirement community , officials say. ' Respiratory outbreak ' under probe at retirement community after 54 fall ill .

Fears are mounting that the outbreak could be far worse than official figures. The nursing facility has found itself at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak , with at least nine of the Bonnie Holstad said her husband Ken was staying at the facility after a fall caused by a broken hip but staff were refusing

In a letter Wednesday to residents obtained by ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington D.C., Greenspring described symptoms as "fever, cough, body aches, wheezing, hoarseness and general weakness."

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Benjamin Schwartz, a health department director, told ABC News on Thursday that the outbreak had been reported in the assisted-living and skilled-nursing sections. He said the outbreak began with the first case on June 30.

The specific cause of the outbreak had not yet been identified but additional tests of samples were being done, according to Schwartz.

The assisted-living and skilled-nursing facility in Greenspring is home to 263 residents, Schwartz said. He said the two patients who died in the outbreak had been hospitalized with pneumonia but were "older individuals with complex medical problems."

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"One of the things about skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities is [that] when you have a lot of people in close proximity, who have underlying medical conditions, there is an increased risk for outbreaks," he said. "Seeing a respiratory outbreak in a long-term care facility is not odd. ... One thing that's different about this outbreak is just that it's occurring in the summer when, usually, we don't have a lot of respiratory disease."

'Respiratory outbreak' under probe at retirement community after 54 fall ill© WTTG The sign for Greenspring Retirement Community is shown in Springfield, Virgina. Of those initially hospitalized, seven have returned to the retirement home, said Courtney Benoff, regional communications manager for Erikson Living, which owns the retirement home.

The health department said that although there had been no new hospitalizations in the "past couple of days," residents were still getting sick in the outbreak.

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Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

Four other potential cases are also under investigation in New York state. In Colorado, a patient with respiratory symptoms was placed in isolation at Wudong, who was retired but drafted in to help with the outbreak , died after time spent treating patients. It was also reported that another doctor, Jiang

In a statement, Greenspring said that its "highest priority is the welfare of those who live and work on campus."

(MORE: Little boy gives roses to nursing home residents, tickets for 'being too cute')

"In keeping with this commitment the community has acted with an abundance of caution, and in partnership with the Fairfax County Department of Health, has taken all necessary measures to fully implement proven infection prevention and control strategies. We remain vigilant in our response and will continue to provide frequent and transparent updates to residents, staff and family members," the retirement home said in a statement.

The Fairfax County Health Department said it is investigating the incident.

The department said that appropriate measures had been taken to reduce the risk of infection and keep residents safe, including closing the facility to new admissions, cancelling group activities, keeping ill residents in their rooms and increasing cleaning.

Residents experiencing any of those symptoms were urged to call the community's medical center.

ABC News' Amanda Maile, Sarah Herndon and Kyra Phillips contributed to the reporting in this story.

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