Video: You can watch the update from Governor Cooper and the Coronavirus Taskforce above.
RALEIGH — Governor Roy Cooper announced a new hotspot in Orange County has emerged as 60 positive cases of Covid-19 have been identified at a single nursing home facility there, setting off a new round of directives to further mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in long-term care facilities.
Of those 60 identified positive cases, two have died, according to Cooper.
“These are shockingly large numbers,” Cooper said Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), said the state has seen the number of outbreaks in congregate settings like nursing homes increase.
“We’ve already issued an executive order earlier which limited visitors, but now we need to go further,” she said.
According to Cohen, there are now 21 outbreaks across the state — an outbreak being two or more people who have tested positive in congregate settings. Of the 21 outbreaks, she said 18 have occurred in long-term care facilities.
The new directives will require all nursing home employees to wear face masks when interacting with patients, close all communal areas while restricting nonessential personnel, screen staff members and residents daily for symptoms, and notify local health departments of new or suspected cases.
Cohen said that if an outbreak happens, “quick and aggressive action must also follow.”
“Facilities should implement immediately the testing and assessment of residents to determine the spread of the disease, and residents with Covid-19 should be grouped in a separate area to be cared for by a separate group of staff to ensure there are no interactions with residents and staff who are not positive,” Cohen said.
Governor Cooper also addressed the upcoming executive orders he mentioned at yesterday’s press conference. One of those, he said, will be signed today.
“That order allows more healthcare providers into the system and it makes sure that equipment and other resources are available where they can be most effective and save the most lives,” Cooper said.
The order will also increase the number of hospital beds that may be needed for the pandemic and streamline child care rules for children of healthcare workers. Cooper said this will “make sure that the children of our most essential workers can be cared for while these brave parents do the work we need them to do.”
Cooper also urged the state’s residents to abide by his stay-at-home order and avoid traveling for nonessential reasons.
“This pandemic has shown us how interconnected our society truly is,” Cooper said. “Going out for a nonessential reason may feel harmless if you do not have any symptoms. But if you do have the virus, you could set off a chain reaction unknowingly, by passing the virus off to just a handful of people … Eventually it could affect a nursing home like this one [in Orange County], or a friend or a relative who is already sick with an underlying condition.”
Correction: This article originally reported that there had been seven fatalities at the nursing home — there have been only two.
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