The Dare County Division of Public Health has received confirmation of three positive cases of COVID-19 linked to residents and staff at Peak Resources, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Nags Head.
Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced new coronavirus measures for congregate-living facilities across the state, and defined an outbreak at such facilities as two or more patients testing positive.
Of the three who tested positive at Peak, two individuals are Dare County residents and one resides in another county, Dare County health officials said in a news release.
The additional testing that led to these results was part of a comprehensive public health investigation based on a single positive test result announced on Sunday, April 5. The patients and staff who had direct contact with the positive individual were tested on Monday, April 6. With these positive test results, all patients and staff at the facility are now being tested.
“I want to acknowledge the obvious concerns this will create for those residing and working at Peak Resources and for their families,” said Dr, Sheila Davies, Director of Dare County Health and Human Services. “It is a very difficult situation for all involved. As we receive the test results for all Peak Resources patients and staff, our public health staff will work closely with the facility to ensure that those individuals who are COVID-19 positive remain isolated from staff and patients who test negative. Additionally, our staff will continue to conduct contact tracing of direct contacts associated with individuals who test positive.”
Since the original positive test for the individual residing at Peak Resources was received on Sunday, staff and leadership at Peak Resources, local public health leadership, Outer Banks Hospital and Vidant Medical Group leadership have been communicating and prioritizing strategies and actions to care for those affected and to reduce the risks for others at the facility.
“We remain dedicated to the well-being and safety of our residents and employees,” said Melissa Harrison, local administrator at Peak Resources. “Protecting the health of those we care for and the community we service remains our highest priority. We are making every effort to ensure we stop the spread of the Coronavirus within our facility. We are extremely proud of our staff members and their rapid and diligent response in handling a very unique and difficult situation.”
According to Harrison, “Since late January, we have been closely following the guidelines established by the CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health. We will remain in active communication with the local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps.”
Yesterday, Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced updated guidelines for all North Carolina congregate living facilities, including the use of face masks while interacting with patients, closing communal areas, and requiring residents and staff to be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms. Local health officials have shared the updated guidelines with all congregate facilities in Dare County. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now offering information online to show outbreaks at congregate living facilities, including correctional facilities and nursing homes.
This now brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Dare County to 13. Of the 13, six have completely recovered, five are asymptomatic (meaning they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms), one remains hospitalized out of the county, and one has died.
State officials say there are outbreaks at at least 21 congregate-living settings across North Carolina, including 18 in long-term care facilities.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.