Coronavirus Testing Hit or Miss at Some Northern Virginia Care Facilities

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It’s been two weeks since Virginia announced a plan for wide-scale coronavirus testing inside long-term care facilities with outbreaks. But News4 has learned while some centers were offered expanded testing, others have been turned down.

Falcon’s Landing in Loudoun County, a community for military retirees and their spouses had one of the first COVID-19 outbreaks and, sadly, some of the first deaths.

From the start, Falcon's Landing President and CEO Barbara Brannon was very public about the sorrow and the struggle, including the challenge in getting testing.

"Testing has been extremely difficult to get in our area of Virginia," Brannon said.

But that all changed for Falcons’ Landing last week. It became the first facility in Northern Virginia to access a new state health department program called a Point Prevalence Survey.

A 37-member National Guard team moved in, set up and tested every staff member and resident. More than 230 COVID-19 tests were administered.

"That has helped tremendously," Brannon said. "We did not have any additional positive residents identified as a result of that, which gave us great confidence."

However, it's a much different story at Leewood Health and Rehab Center in Fairfax County, where staff are battling an outbreak.

In late April, the director asked the Fairfax County Health Department for testing of all staff and residents, but was turned down.

A phone recording at the center states: "Last week, local government decline our request for testing of all residents and staff due to limited resources."

Marta Cankert’s aunt lives at Leewood. She tested positive early in the outbreak and, with the help of the staff, has recovered from COVID-19.

But Cankert believes all families should know whether or not their loved ones test positive.

"It's unfortunate and, you know, just because a resident or staff member isn’t showing symptoms doesn’t mean they don’t have it. So, we really need to test everyone at every faclity - everywhere," she said.

A spokesman for the county health department says when Leewood asked for the help, Faifax County had not yet started the expanded coronavirus testing.

He says they have now started performing the point prevalence surveys. No word on when or if it will come to Leewood.

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