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3rd coronavirus-related death reported in Pasquotank Co.; 33 positive cases at long-term care facility

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Posted at 5:27 PM, May 07, 2020

PASQUOTANK Co, N.C. - A third Pasquotank County resident has died from complications from the coronavirus, Albemarle Regional Health Services announced Thursday.

The victim was over the age 65. To protect the family’s privacy, health officials will not release any further information about this patient.

“As we continue to navigate this unprecedented public health emergency, it is especially difficult to come to grips with the impact on our most vulnerable. On behalf of ARHS, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the individual’s family and friends,” states R. Battle Betts Jr., MPA, Health Director. “Everyone impacted by this pandemic remains in our thoughts and prayers.”

ARHS is also working with Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation (ECHR) on a COVID-19 outbreak at the long-term care facility. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases in a facility.

ARHS and ECHR staff provided a mass screening at the facility and collected more than 275 COVID-19 samples from all staff and residents. So far, 33 lab confirmed positive cases have been identified through the mass screening event, and additional lab results are still pending.

ARHS staff are investigating potential sources of exposure, while also providing guidance and resources to ECHR to help control the outbreak, ensuring proper steps are taken to protect both staff and residents.

“When COVID-19 occurs in a congregate setting where residents are considered high risk, we are especially concerned,” said Betts. “We will continue to work very closely with the facility over the coming days and weeks to protect other residents and staff and to provide expert guidance on infection control. We are in the beginning stages of communicable disease investigation for this outbreak, therefore we hope to release additional information tomorrow.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have encouraged long-term care facilities to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities. Preventive measures include:

  • Cancelling communal activities, including group meals
  • Taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility
  • Requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility
  • Requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 health indicators like body temperature and respiratory assessments
  • Restricting visitors from entering the facility

Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and should also:

  • Practice good hand hygiene tips and other common-sense precautions
  • Review policies and procedures for infection prevention and mitigation, and make sure all employees follow these steps
  • Assure strict adherence to infection prevention practices
  • Prevent the introduction of respiratory illnesses into their facilities
  • Continue to work closely with the local health department, NCDHHS, and the CDC and follow

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