All veterans home residents negative for COVID-19, department says

All veterans home residents negative for COVID-19, department says
Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City was particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, but the state says universal testing shows no positive cases among any of its residents as of Wednesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The hard-hit Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs has released some encouraging news in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Wednesday, universal testing of all residents and employees at its four veterans homes across the state show all residents are virus-free.

The department also said 31 of 44 employees at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alex City have since recovered, as have three more employees at the Bay Minette location of William F. Green Veterans Home.

Nichols has been particularly hard-hit. Ninety-four of its residents have tested positive for the virus since early April. While some residents recovered, many others who had multiple comorbidities did not.

The exact number of pandemic-related deaths was not immediately clear, but the department said if a resident tested positive at the time of their death, that information was provided to the Alabama Department of Public Health. ADPH makes any final determination on whether a death is attributable to the virus.

The elderly are particularly at risk from coronavirus and residents of the state’s long-term care facilities make up nearly half of all Alabama’s pandemic-related fatalities.

As of Wednesday, Alabama had reported 879 deaths and nearly 32,000 confirmed cases of the disease statewide. More than 2,500 people have required hospitalization since the pandemic began.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.