Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Danville

Since one died of COVID-19 last month at the Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Danville, those affected by an outbreak of at least 12 people at the facility have made a speedy recovery and ceased further spread of the virus.

"We are currently not reporting any [COVID-19] cases among staff or patients," Communications Director Lauren Cunningham told the Star-Tribune this morning.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order Aug. 18 to address COVID-19 in psychiatric facilities. At the time, many of Virginia's psychiatric institutions were booked above capacity and the need to isolate patients was rapidly increasing.

Aug. 5, 60-year-old nurse Deborah Patterson died of COVID-19 while working at the Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Danville.

“It is not yet known where the employee was exposed to the virus," the facility said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to this person’s family and co-workers during this difficult time."

As of Tuesday, there are no cases of the virus at the facility. Cunningham credited adherence to CDC and VDH guidelines for containing the outbreak and minimizing damage after the death of Patterson.

Cunningham said these guidelines were also being strictly followed prior to the death and the outbreak.

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