With Two More COVID-19 Deaths, Loudoun Retirement Communities Fight Outbreaks

Falcons Landing, the nonprofit retirement community for military veterans and retired government employees in Sterling, has lost two more elderly residents to COVID-19 in the past week.

Overall, there have been five deaths related to the virus reported in Loudoun.

The community first saw the virus enter its gates two weeks ago, when a resident died in a local hospital a few hours before the results of a positive COVID-19 test came back. Since then, the community has now reported, 10 more residents have tested positive in either an assisted living unit or in the nursing unit.

Two of those residents, one in their late 80s and one early 90s, died in the past week, and the other eight COVID-19 positive residents are being cared for at Falcons Landing.

One of the residents has completed quarantine and has now tested negative. 

Seven Falcons Landing health care staff are also positive for COVID-19, and three rehab therapists from the company that provides services to Falcons Landing residents. A total of 32 health care staff are currently on quarantine-at-home either because of a positive test or symptoms of COVID-19.

One staff member has completed quarantine and has returned to work. No staff working in other areas of the community have tested positive.

 “COVID-19 is testing our strength and resilience in ways I could never have imagined,” stated CEO Barbara Brannon. “Residents and staff are united and working together to get through these dark days. We mourn the loss of those who have died and remain steadfast in our efforts to support and protect our Falcons Landing family.” 

Falcons Landing is working with the Virginia Department of Health to contain the outbreak, and the state has allocated critical supplies and equipment to protect staff members and residents from the virus. In addition, residents who are COVID-19 positive are in strict isolation, and health care staff use full protective equipment and clothing when caring for every resident in health care. 

Meanwhile, of the more than 400 residents in independent living at Falcons Landing, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Every resident is self-isolating with meals, mail and deliveries brought to their door. 

It is only one of Loudoun’s retirement communities forced to take additional steps against the outbreak. The communities are limiting visits from the community and taking additional precautions among staff, but Health Department Director Dr. David Goodfriend told county supervisors on Tuesday that retirement communities have faced challenges keeping the coronavirus from spreading among their populations.

Part of the problem: many of their staff tend to be low-paid, without health benefits, and working at more than one community.

“A number of facilities are finding the staff just not showing up, and that becomes a significant challenge, as they have a fixed population,” Goodfriend said.

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