ALEX CITY, Ala. (WSFA) - More than a month and 2,400 confirmed cases into Alabama’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, there hadn’t been a single reported case among residents in any of the state’s four veterans homes.
That ended Wednesday when a resident at an Alex City facility tested positive for the respiratory illness. The facility previously reported an employee’s positive test on March 31.
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed the illness in a resident at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, marking a new milestone as the state fights the spread of the illness.
ADVA said the resident showed “mild symptoms” and was immediately isolated as a precaution and tested by a local lab. The patient’s symptoms are said to be improving as they continue to be cared for in isolation.
With positive results in hand, administrators notified the veteran’s family, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the local health department, CDC officials, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Additionally, the families of other residents at the home were also notified.
ADVA said it tightened its visitors policy back on March 12 to prevent the illness from entering their facilities. Currently, the homes are limited to employees, necessary external medical personnel, and immediate families of residents facing end-of-life situations.
As for the patient with COVID-19, ADVA said their symptoms are improving as they continue to be cared for in isolation.
In addition to the Alex City location, ADVA manages three other veterans homes around the state including in Bay Minette, Huntsville and Pell City.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article and its headline have been updated to clarify a distinction between the first cases among a facility resident and employee.