Employee at Central State Hospital dies of COVID-19


By Zach Armstrong

DINWIDDIE, Va -- A psychiatric technician at Central State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital located in Dinwiddie County, died of COVID-19 earlier this month.

The fatality marks the second death of an employee at a state behavioral health facility due to COVID-19. In September, a nurse at Danville’s Southern Virginia Health Institute died from the coronavirus.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of an employee at Central State Hospital last month due to complications related to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to this person's family and co-workers during this difficult time.” said Lauren Cunningham, Communications Director at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in an email. “DBHDS is providing resources and support to help staff cope with the loss of a member of the CSH family.”

According to Cunningham, roughly 57% of staff at the 12 state facilities have received their first dose of the vaccine, and roughly 48% of staff have received both doses and are now fully vaccinated.

At four other state facilities, 25 patients or residents have died from COVID-19. In Burkeville located in Nottoway County, 15 of those numbers were at the Piedmont Geriatric Hospital and six of them were at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation.

Central State Hospital dates back to 1870 and was the first institution in the country for "colored persons of unsound mind" originally being known as the Central Lunatic Asylum. The facility serves Central Virginia with services such as forensic psychiatry and long and short-term treatment for those deemed most seriously mentally ill.