Cris Bradley

Cris Bradley died Thursday, two weeks shy of her 86th birthday. 

The death toll from COVID-19 at Carriage Hill Rehab & Health Center in Spotsylvania County continues to grow. A 16th resident has died in the nursing home outbreak that’s also infected 93 other patients and staff members.

Crisanta Bradley, a mother of five, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of nine, is among the fatalities. The Filipino woman was two weeks shy of her 86th birthday when she died on Thursday.

“She was so much more than just a number,” said her daughter-in-law Lori Bradley. “Her life mattered. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that she was taken from us in such a cruel manner.”

The day after she died, a Carriage Hill staff member sent the family a photo and video of Cris Bradley taken in mid-June, and Lori Bradley passed it along to the newspaper because she “wanted to put a face to one of the victims of this hideous virus.”

The photo shows Bradley wearing hot pink sunglasses and a pink jacket with the collar turned up. She looks ready for adventure. In the video, she’s dressed in a robe and fuzzy slippers, dancing as she proclaims, “Shake it, don’t break it.”

Bradley breaks into a number of dance moves as staff members laugh along with her. They ask her to do the Hokey Pokey, which she does, then turns it into some sort of hula dance.

“The photo and video totally embodies Cris’ personality,” her daughter-in-law said. “She had some dementia, but no underlying health issues. She honestly was one of those people that you expect to live well into her 90s.”

A number of family members of those who died have contacted the newspaper since the outbreak. Several are like Debbie Luck, who believe their loved ones would have enjoyed several more productive years if COVID-19 hadn’t cut them short. Her mother, Gloria Brooks, was 90 when she died June 11.

“It’s been awful; it really has,” Luck said. “She was so full of life.”

Carriage Hill first reported the outbreak to the state June 2, then its staff, along with National Guard members and Rappahannock Area Health District officials, conducted a “point prevalence survey” on June 5 in which they tested every resident and worker in the building. Initially, the outbreak—the worst in the district—affected 55 patients and 26 workers, but it has spread since then.

Carriage Hill agreed to have the testing done and is among seven long-term care facilities in the district—out of 21 facilities—to do so. Another three have scheduled testing, said Allison Balmes–John, spokesperson for the health district.

Under the state’s long-term plans for reopening the facilities, which would allow some normal activities such as the return of visitors, meals in the cafeteria and the resumption of social events, all long-term care facilities must perform a baseline test of everyone in the building, according to Virginia Department of Health guidelines. That’s part of the Phase 2 guidelines, and Gov. Ralph Northam said previously he hopes all facilities in the state can be tested by mid-July.

Another requirement that must be met as part of Phase 2 is no new COVID-19 cases among residents or staff for two weeks.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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