New Hanover County Public Health officials identify COVID-19 in residential facility

Posted May 29, 2020 at 11:00 am     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANVOER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials have identified two lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff in a local congregate care facility. This meets the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of an outbreak: two or more people – residents or employees – in a congregate setting testing positive for the virus within 28 days.

Both individuals work for Northchase Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, but live outside of New Hanover County. No other information about employees or residents in the facility will be shared.

Public Health has worked with the facility to examine their infection control processes, and the center has been found to have strong infection control measures. They are taking proactive steps to reduce risk and using personal protective equipment correctly. The facility has also proactively tested all employees and residents for COVID-19, and – to date – all other 240 tests have come back negative (four tests are still pending results). The facility has also notified all families of residents.

“Public Health has been actively working with all of our long-term care facilities throughout this pandemic, offering guidance, assistance obtaining personal protective equipment, and encouraging testing of residents and staff,” said Public Health’s Personal Health Services Manager Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA. “Working together, we have been able to prevent an outbreak until now, which is good; and I believe this facility has done everything right to help prevent the virus’ spread even further. Around the country, we are seeing the virus get inside long-term care facilities through the staff, which they are getting outside of work. That is why it is so important that we all do everything we can to follow protective measures any time we are in public. It will help protect these important workers and the people they care for who are at risk of more serious illness.”

Those key protective measures are:

  • Wear a face covering when out in public
  • Wait six feet apart from others and don’t gather in groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).
  • Stay home if you are sick, and cover your coughs and sneezes.

Public Health will continue to monitor this situation, and provide support and guidance to all residential facilities in the county. A report of outbreaks in congregate care settings across the state can be found at COVID19.NCDHHS.gov.

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As of 11 a.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020, there have been 188 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. For more information about COVID-19 in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook,  Instagram, and Nextdoor.

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