FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristin Prelipp, Communications Manager and
Public Information Officer
email@example.com or (919) 245-2462
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. April 8, 2020 – There are outbreaks of COVID-19 at two long-term care facilities in Orange County, occurring at PruittHealth – Carolina Point and Signature HealthCARE at Chapel Hill. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases. Orange County has a total of 81 cases of COVID-19.
Across the state of North Carolina, there are 21 outbreaks in congregant living settings, such as jails or shelters. 18 of the outbreaks are among long-term care facilities. The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) has worked with Orange County EMS, UNC Hospitals and Duke Hospitals to focus on prevention and response at long-term care facilities. Staff from these agencies formed strike teams that have worked closely with the facilities. The strike team tested all staff and residents so they know who carries COVID-19, even if they are asymptomatic.
It has been confirmed that PruittHealth has at least 60 positives cases and the total includes staff and residents. Seven residents are at Duke University Hospital. In the case of Signature HealthCARE there are three positive tests and these are being cared for at UNC Hospitals. More test results are pending for both facilities.
Orange County Health Director, Quintana Stewart says, “We are deeply concerned for the staff and residents and their families who are affected by this outbreak. The best thing we can all do to help them is to remain diligent and practice social distancing.”
Long-Term Care Facility Guidance
Because long-term care facilities have been known to be at high risk for COVID-19, a team from the Orange County Health Department and Orange County EMS has been working with facilities for weeks to assess their operations, sanitation and social distancing policies to be sure that it follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS). They share best practices for personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to conserve and use equipment properly, as well as make requests to the State for additional PPE, if needed.
Long-Term Care Facilities have instituted the following policies:
- All nursing home staff wear masks to prevent inadvertent spread of COVID-19.
- Communal areas are closed.
- Non-essential personnel are not allowed on site.
- Daily health screenings of staff.
- Facilities immediately notify the Orange County Health Department about new or suspected cases.
- COVID-19 positive residents and staff are separated from other residents and staff.
- Staff who work at multiple facilities must only work at one facility throughout the pandemic.
Long-term care facilities plan for redundancy of staff and have back-up plans to ensure continuity of care for residents. Facilities proactively transport residents with aggressive symptoms to area hospitals before their condition deteriorates to increase their chances for better outcomes. Staff from the respective facilities are contacting relatives and guardians of the residents to make them aware of the outbreak and individual resident status.
Household members and people who have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact means within six feet for at least 10 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it.
- no outside visitors
- regular resident and health care professional screenings
- isolation protocols
- personal protective equipment (PPE) instructions and usage
Please rely on accurate sources of information:
- CDC: www.cdc.gov
- N.C. Department of Health and Human Services: www.ncdhhs.gov The site includes positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.
- For the latest information and guidance relating to Orange County’s COVID-19 response, visit https://www.orangecountync.gov/Coronavirus
- The phone line for questions about COVID-19 is 919-245-6111 and is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Spanish language and other languages are available.
- To receive daily text updates on the crisis, please text OCNCHEALTH to 888777. For Spanish speakers, text OCNCSALUD to 888-777.
- You may also sign up for a twice weekly e-newsletter about the COVID-19 response via our website.
- Please follow the Orange County Health Department on Facebook and Twitter.
- NCDHHS’ website https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc, will include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.
For questions about the Stay at Home Order, see Frequently Asked Questions document that clarifies, in plain language, what the Order means for community members.