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Residents, employees at Aiken senior community test positive for COVID-19

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A cluster of coronavirus cases has been logged at the Cumberland Village senior living community in Aiken, a place many people at risk of complications, severe illness or death call home, a memo reviewed by the Aiken Standard shows.

Ten people residing in the central apartments there tested positive for COVID-19 recently. Four people, according to an update distributed by Jason Stewart, the facility's executive director, were hospitalized. Three people at the so-called patio homes, spread across a 35-acre campus, recently tested positive, as well.

At least six Cumberland Village employees have tested positive for the disease caused by the highly contagious virus. Stewart, in an exchange with the Aiken Standard on Wednesday, said all workers who tested positive "were sent home immediately upon notification from the lab."

A 14-day quarantine for residents, instituted July 31, will be "reevaluated" Aug. 14, Stewart confirmed this week and, prior, explained in his message to the community, which was billed as an update "on the situation at Cumberland."

"We wanted to be as transparent as possible during this time," Stewart said Wednesday. "We have used Constant Contact and postings around the community to communicate with residents, family and staff as to what our plans, procedures and protocols are during this very trying time. We will continue this going forward."

More than 190 people at Cumberland Village, an award-winning community near Richland Avenue West, have undergone coronavirus testing.

To stymie the spread of the 2019 virus, weekly cleaning and more-tailored disinfectant regimens are in place, Stewart said, and employees wear masks.

"Obviously," Stewart added, "testing and quarantine were the most significant steps taken."

More than 102,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Carolina, including at least 1,838 in Aiken County. The county's rate of infection per 100,000 people was among the lowest in the state as of Wednesday.

The state health department's rolling tally of coronavirus infections at nursing homes and care facilities lists only one case at the Hills of Cumberland Village in Aiken. The department – the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, DHEC, for short – says it prioritizes "the identification of COVID-19 infections in nursing homes and assisted living facilities" because the spread of respiratory illnesses at such places poses an acute threat.

At least one instance of COVID-19 had been identified in 341 nursing homes or assisted-living facilities across the state as of Wednesday evening.

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