New Hanover health officials identify COVID-19 outbreak at congregate care facility

New Hanover health officials identify COVID-19 outbreak at congregate care facility

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County health officials on Friday identified a COVID-19 outbreak at a local congregate care facility.

According to a news release, two staff members at Northchase Rehabilitation and Nursing Center have tested positive for the virus. The employees currently live outside of New Hanover County, officials said.

No other information about the employees or residents in the facility will be released.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of an outbreak is two or more people – residents or employees – in a congregate setting testing positive for the virus within 28 days.

County officials said the facility has “strong infection control measures” following an examination by Public Health.

“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,” the news release stated.

“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. “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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