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Three additional Dare cases of COVID-19 linked to Peak Resources

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. Of the three who tested positive, two individuals are Dare County residents and one resides in another county.

According to a Dare County press 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.”

The Dare County release stated that 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, The 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.”

On April 8, Governor Roy 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.

The Division of Public Health urges everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19 all respiratory illness:

– Stay home and only go out for necessities or exercise and only have contact with the people you live with.

– Avoid contact with persons that you know are sick.

– Cover your cough (cough into the crook of your elbow; or use a tissue and throw in trash).

– Practice good hand hygiene (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing).

– If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

– Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces with household cleaners.

– Consider using a cloth face covering to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  A face covering alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and other measures should also be utilized.

“It is important that the information you access about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources including the CDCNCDHHS and Dare County,” advises the bulletin.

The North Carolina Public Health COVID-19 Hotline can be reached at 1-866-462-3821 and is staffed by nurses and pharmacists around the clock. The Dare County COVID-19 Call Center can be reached at 252-475-5008 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The COVID-19 Call Center will be open on Friday, April 10.

“If you, a family member or someone you know is laid off from work due to COVID-19 and might lose health coverage, North Carolina Affordable Care Act enrollment assisters are federally certified to provide free, unbiased, over-the-phone assistance to help you and your family explore your options and enroll in quality, affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace,” stated the bulletin. “Visit their website to enter your zip code and select a radius to search for an appointment near you, or call them toll-free at 1-855-733-3711.

“Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for COVID-19, testing is only done if you have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test. Testing is not recommended for those at home with mild cold-like symptoms. Practicing social distancing and staying home when you are sick will help us slow the spread of the virus.”

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