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Legionella bacteria discovered at Henrico facility; county does not anticipate health risk

Results of a test of the cooling tower, conducted by contractor Water Chemistry, Inc., indicated the presence of 11 colony-forming units (CFUs) of Legionella bacteria per milliliter. The threshold for a positive test of the bacteria is 10 CFUs per milliliter, according to the company.

RVAHub Staff

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A trace amount of Legionella bacteria has been detected in a cooling tower at Henrico Jail West, according to county officials. The amount detected is not likely to pose a health risk for staff and inmates at the jail, officials said.

Results of a test of the cooling tower, conducted by contractor Water Chemistry, Inc., indicated the presence of 11 colony-forming units (CFUs) of Legionella bacteria per milliliter. The threshold for a positive test of the bacteria is 10 CFUs per milliliter, according to the company.

The strain of bacteria found in the Jail West cooling tower is a form that potentially can lead to the development of Legionnaires’ disease in at-risk individuals, although the amount indicated in the test results should not present a risk to individuals working and housed at the jail, said Danny Avula, director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health departments.

The contractor tested the Jail West equipment on Oct. 8; lab analysis indicated the positive test result on Oct. 16. The contractor is scheduled to chemically treat the cooling tower and remediate the bacteria by Monday, Oct. 21, according to John H. Neal Jr., director of the Department of General Services.

The equipment was checked as part of a countywide program examining general government buildings for the presence of the bacteria, Neal said. The nine other county general government buildings with cooling towers have tested negative for Legionella bacteria.

Henrico regularly maintains building cooling towers and related equipment, including monthly cleanings and other treatments, Neal said. The county added testing for Legionella bacteria to its maintenance regimen in September, following the discovery of the bacteria at facilities elsewhere in the region.

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Education

University of Richmond donates thousands of safety gloves from science labs to local healthcare workers

Faculty gathered up nearly 7,000 pairs of gloves to donate to local healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic where supplies are running low.

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As classes moved to remote learning at the University of Richmond, science laboratories across campus are vacant and the safety gear in them is not being used. This prompted UR chemistry and biology professors, in collaboration with administrators, to donate boxes of safety gloves to the Central Virginia Incident Management Team to be delivered to healthcare providers across the state most in need of supplies.

Faculty gathered up nearly 7,000 pairs of gloves to donate to local healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic where supplies are running low.

The idea began with, and is spearheaded by, chemistry professor Mike Leopold, who recognized that healthcare workers were in need of additional personal protective equipment, including gloves.

“I realized that in the transition to remote learning, we would have a number of boxes of gloves sitting around in our labs for months,” said Leopold. “I thought why not make great use of them now and help keep those on the front lines fighting this pandemic safe.”

Leopold initially took the supply from his own research lab to an ER nurse he knows because she had indicated to him they were running low. Leopold realized the broader opportunity and after consulting with the administration at UR about donating more of this specific item, reached out to others.

The gesture spurred additional UR faculty to investigate their own supplies and has prompted healthcare workers to talk with other universities about this possible option.

“As I expected, the response from my colleagues was amazing and we are delighted to help assist in this small way. We hope it encourages others,” Leopold said.

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Community

How Not To Social Distance

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Currently, the only real defense we have against COVID-19 is to stay away from each other. The rule is 6 feet of space groups less than 10. These scenes leading to Belle Isle show that people and from the look of it younger people aren’t getting the message. Take a minute to think of how many folks have touched the handrails of that staircase. I’ve heard rumor that the situation is just as bad on Belle Isle proper and on Brown’s Island. I didn’t check out the rumor because I’m avoiding crowds. The whole way this works is everyone complies.

Photo sent in anonymously

Photo sent in anonymously

Social distancing is the term used to describe certain actions recommended by health officials to disrupt the chain of contagion in a pandemic.  This involves steps such as: keeping 3-6 feet from others, avoiding public gatherings, and limiting face to face contact with others.

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Community

Stores Offering Special Shopping Hours for Seniors

The stores in the area that are adjusting hours to help seniors include Publix, WalMart, and Dollar General.

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As we all know by now COVID-19 is especially dangerous for seniors. In order to decrease the crowds and thus the chance of infection, some stores are offering special hours for seniors.

Here are the stores we know of so far. (Credit to NBC12 for the updated list)

  • Big Lots is reserving the first operating hour of each day for senior citizens and people who are the most vulnerable to the virus.
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club is opening one hour early at 8 a.m. for members who are ages 60 and older.
  • Dollar General is adjusting operating hours for older customers.
  • Fresh Market is opening stores from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors and those most at risk for coronavirus.
  • Publix has senior shopping hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Publix pharmacies will open early at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Target will close at 9 p.m. to restock and clean stores. They also announced dedicated shopping hours for team members and their families.
  • Whole Foods stores are open an hour early for customers 60+. Customers should check their local store’s website for specific hours.
  • The Market at 25th in Richmond will open for senior citizens from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Other customers can shop from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Trader Joe’s is reserving the first operating hour of its day for senior citizens. Stores will also have an extra line for seniors outside its front door for a quicker entrance.
  • Walgreens is open early for seniors on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Customers 55 years and older will receive special discounts on Tuesdays.
  • Walmart is open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Tuesdays until April 28, stores will have an hour-long senior shopping event for customers aged 60 and older, one hour before the store opens.

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