September 19, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak kills 4 at Mississippi veterans home; 9 more have virus

Four residents at a Mississippi veterans home have died and nine others have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of an outbreak at the long-term care facility in late July, officials announced Friday.

The outbreak occurred at the Mississippi Veterans Home at Collins. Two of the nine residents who tested positive are hospitalized, according to Mississippi Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Ray Coleman.

The deaths happened in early to mid-August, Coleman said. The last death was on Aug. 14. Officials did not release additional details about the deceased.

The department recently completed testing all residents and staff at the Collins facility, Mississippi State Veterans Affairs Executive Director Stacey Pickering said. Testing is being done on a weekly basis at all four state veterans homes.

Residents who are known to have come in contact with someone positive for coronavirus are isolated, monitored for symptoms and tested for coronavirus, Pickering said. Residents who either test positive or show symptoms of the virus are transferred to the home’s COVID unit, where they remain for a minimum of 14 days, until symptom-free for 72 hours or they receive a negative test result.

Officials said staff members who are exposed to the virus are immediately placed on administrative leave, tested for COVID and quarantined for 14 days. The Mississippi Department of Health is notified of all residents and staff who test positive for COVID-19 as required. Families of residents are also notified of positive cases, officials said.