Macon County Public Health identifies a COVID-19 outbreak in Franklin

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak in staff at Macon Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Franklin. Two staff members of Macon Valley Nursing Home have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are asymptomatic and are isolating at home.

Both employees will not return to work until they have two negative COVID-19 tests, taken 24 hours apart. Macon Valley Nursing Home has been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards while in their facility and especially when working with patients. At this time, no patient in any Macon County nursing home or long-term care facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

All the residents and staff of Macon Valley Nursing Home are being tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and Macon Valley’s leadership team, and plans are in place to isolate any residents, should there be a positive result. Macon Valley Nursing Home and Macon County Public Health have been working together and have verified that Macon Valley has all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

In addition to Macon Valley staff and patients, MCPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

The entire state of North Carolina is under a “Safer at Home” executive order, currently under phase two. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness. Therefore, we ask that community members strictly follow the governor’s orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions at

Symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, other lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath). If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828.349.2517. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., until further notice.

Article courtesy of MCPH

Statement from Macon Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

COVID-19 Preparedness Update Ensuring our residents and staff are in a safe and healthy environment has been our primary concern since the onset of this unprecedented pandemic, and it continues to be to this day. Eighteen weeks ago, we began working to develop guidelines and protocols in the unfortunate event the virus became prevalent in our local community, which it has in Macon County. To date, we have aggressively implemented the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and developed over 60 internal guidelines to ensure we are constantly taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The following list explains, in detail, the efforts we have taken to date:

  • Macon Valley started screening visitors and staff before it was a CMS mandate. We have rigid screening processes that we require all employees to complete with supervision prior to the start of their shift.
  • We established routine monitoring for presence of signs and symptoms of the virus in our residents. It is now general knowledge that many people of all ages can have the virus yet remain asymptomatic.
  • We partnered with Mother Earth Brewery, in Kinston, NC to produce hand gel specifically for our company.
  • In early March we started making home-made masks in Goldsboro, NC and, to date, have produced over 27,000. We hired over 30 individuals to sew, cut and inspect our masks, which are made of polypropylene and cotton with elastic ear loops.
  • To supplement our supply of masks, we purchased 3D printing technology to manufacture face shields and, to date, have produced nearly 1,000.
  • In mid-April we began producing homemade surgical gowns at our Goldsboro location. To date we have made close to 11,000 gowns.
  • Additionally, we have distributed KN-95 and N-95 masks, currently the gold standard, to all staff. We were forced to pay exorbitant prices for these products but knew that if we had a positive case of the virus in the building, they would serve as critical protection.
  • We have received multiple deliveries of surgical masks and are continuing to source more nationally and internationally. • We partnered with a laboratory in South Carolina to provide COVID-19 tests that deliver results in 48 to 72 hours versus other testing sites that were taking from 7 to 10 days for results.
  • These tests, when we acquired them, provided the quickest results available to nursing homes. We are, however, searching for rapid tests that return results within hours. To date, these rapid tests have not been available to nursing home communities.
  • We have contracted with an environmental service company that specializes in electrostatic disinfection, which uniquely targets potentially infected surfaces using EPA endorsed chemicals known to combat the human coronavirus.
  • An isolation unit has been constructed in our facility and meets the requirements for mold remediation, an exceptionally high standard.
  • We partnered with a COVID-19 Special Care Units (SCU) that we operate in Wake County, Mecklenburg County and Wilson County and are currently evaluating additional dedicated SCU partnerships throughout the state.
  • Knowing how difficult this time is for our residents and family members with the imposition of visitor restrictions, we acquired iPads for virtual family visits with our residents and for telemedicine purposes.
  • As you know, the spread of COVID-19 continues throughout the state, impacting all areas, including Macon County, creating greater exposure for our facility. Out of an abundance of caution, we completed 100% testing of all residents and staff earlier this month. As a result of this 100% testing, zero (0) residents or staff tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Despite the 100% testing, we continue to test for COVID-19 as needed due to the dynamic nature of the virus. The results of further testing revealed that two (2) staff members tested positive for the virus. These individuals were screened prior to their shifts, at which time they reported no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Please know that we continue to monitor our residents’ temperatures and assess them for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 every shift. Likewise, we continue to rigorously screen staff prior to all shifts.
  • In response to the two (2) staff members testing positive for the virus, Macon Valley is in the process of conducting another 100% testing of residents and staff. We will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department and the facility medical director for guidance on care and communication.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank the Macon County Health Department for all of their guidance and support during this unprecedented time.

We would again like to stress that our foremost goal in everything we do is to provide for and protect the safety and well-being of our residents, staff, and community. Macon Valley has in place effective and approved infection control protocols.

We have also developed additional tools to identify, track and communicate potential symptoms should they develop in our residents or staff. We are also in close communication with the local and State Health Departments, as well as our community hospitals, who are providing up to the minute information.

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