State and local health officials have reported three COVID-19 outbreaks at congregate living facilities in the Twin Counties.
The state Department of Health and Human Services defines an “outbreak” in a congregate living facility as “two or more laboratory-confirmed cases.”
According to information posted Tuesday by the department, two of those outbreaks are reported at facilities in Edgecombe County. One is at the Edgecombe Youth Development Center and the other is at Edgecombe Health and Rehabilitation.
The Edgecombe Youth Development Center is one of 19 correctional facilities across the state that have declared outbreaks. Two positive cases have been reported at that facility among the staff members but no positive cases have been reported among the residents. No deaths have been reported in connection with this outbreak.
One case has been reported in a staff member and one case has been reported in a resident at Edgecombe Health and Rehabilitation. These numbers have not increased since Friday’s report and no one has died as a result of the outbreak at that facility, Edgecombe County Health Director Karen Lachapelle said.
“We have worked with both facilities on practicing the three Ws: wear a cloth face covering, wait six feet apart and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer,” Lachapelle said. “We have also discussed cleaning their facility often and monitoring their staff for symptoms and exposure of COVID-19. Both facilities had already started these practices.”
While these outbreaks seem comparatively minor, another outbreak at a nursing home in Nash County has produced more than 30 cases. Though this outbreak has not yet been reported by the DHHS, the Nash County Health Department released more information Tuesday concerning that situation at the Hunter Hill Senior Living Center located next to the Food Lion on Hunter Hill Road.
Since June 18, 34 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at that facility, a Nash County Health Department press release said. Eight people from the facility are hospitalized, though not all hospitalized residents were admitted due to COVID-19 symptoms, the release said.
Most of the people who tested positive at the Hunter Hill Senior Living Center are asymptomatic, the statement noted.
The Nash County Health Department communicable disease staff is working with the administration of Hunter Hill Senior Living by issuing guidance, testing, contact tracing and safety requirements to prevent future spread of the virus, the statement said.
That advice is based on guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state DHHS for long-term care facilities. This advice includes cleaning with a virucidal disinfectant; isolating residents in their rooms; serving meals in patients’ rooms; eliminating social activities and group gatherings; referring the facility to the Nash County Emergency Operation Center for increased personal protection equipment supplies; and allowing no new admissions.
“The Nash County Health Department has completed a site visit on June 26 and found the above measures to be in place. The facility was clean, and staff were in the PPE as they worked and moved throughout the facility,” the press release said.
Nash County Health Director Bill Hill said the county health department is working closely with Hunter Hill Senior Living to ensure the health and safety of their staff and residents.
“We know long-term care facilities are vulnerable and even with their best precautions, the risks are there. We will continue to work with their staff,” Hill said.
In a later interview, Hill said that members of the health department held another conference call with management of the Hunter Hill Senior Living facility on Tuesday morning to monitor the situation.
“We are discussing further measures and the possible need to retest some of the staff and residents there,” he said.
No deaths have yet been connected to that facility.
So far there have been reported outbreaks in 123 nursing home facilities across the state. As of Tuesday, 660 of the 1,343 deaths reported so far in the state have been related to nursing home outbreaks.