MCPH reports 3 more COVID-related deaths and identifies outbreak

Macon County Public Health reported on Dec. 30 that three more county residents diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. The persons were over the age of 65 and had underlying health conditions.

To protect the family ́s privacy, no further information will be released about these patients. These deaths bring Macon County to twelve deaths related to COVID-19.

MCPH Daily COVID-19 update from Dec. 31.

“The family and loved ones of these individuals are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Kathy McGaha, Macon County Health Director. “With the approaching New Year and as more people stay indoors, our community needs to continue to practice the 3Ws and be mindful of those that are higher risk.”

COVID-19 outbreak identified at Eckerd Living Center

MCPH identified a COVID-19 outbreak at the Eckerd Living Center, one staff member and five residents have tested positive for COVID-19. All are well and isolated from others.

Both facilities have been following the highest levels of Personal Protective Equipment standards while in their facility and especially when working with patients.

All the residents and staff of Eckerd Living Center have been notified of their exposure and will be tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and the facility’s leadership team.

Plans are in place to isolate any other individuals, should there be a positive result. ELC and MCPH have been working together and have verified that both facilities have all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.

ELC will be closed to visitors to slow the risk of spread within the facility and to the community. All residents and staff of the facility have been tested and are awaiting results. All residents and staff will be tested every week until there are two consecutive weeks of all negative results.

After two consecutive weeks of negative results for all come back, then the facility can begin to allow minimal visitation again.

In addition to staff and residents, 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 COVID19 case for a prolonged period of time of 15 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.

McGaha said it’s important for people to stay vigilant to slow the spread of the virus.

“We can make a difference by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying 6 feet from others,” she said. “Continue to practice social distancing and limit your trips outside your home to help to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The entire state of North Carolina is under a “Safer at Home” executive order, currently under phase three with masks required to be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained.

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.

MCPH asks 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 HERE.

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 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., closing daily for lunch from 12 – 1 p.m., until further notice.

Article courtesy of Macon County Public Health

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