Local health officials learned on Friday that there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility in Iredell County.

The Iredell County Health Department informed the public of the outbreak in a news release on Saturday morning. 

The health department will not identify the facility by name or location to protect the privacy of the patients, public information officer Megan Redford said in response to questions from Iredell Free News.

Two patients at the facility have tested tested positive for the coronavirus, which has been linked to the deaths of three people in the county and 152 in North Carolina.

As of Friday, there had been 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iredell County and more than 5,850 across the state. There have been more than 700,000 confirmed cases in the United States, including more than 32,000 resulting in death.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services considers two or more cases in a long-term care facility to be an outbreak.

The Iredell County Health Department is working with this facility to conduct contact tracing. The facility continues to implement strict visitor restrictions and infection control precautions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19.

All residents and employees of the long-term care facility will be tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure.

At this time, no other individuals at the facility have exhibited signs or symptoms associated with COVID-19, health officials said in the news release.

“Family members are notified by the long-term care facility staff, and disease protection protocols are strictly enforced,” Redford said. “This facility is being cooperative and all family members have been notified,” Redford said.

The health department has been encouraging all long-term care facilities in Iredell County to follow Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines and state directives meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. A key part of these directives includes restricting visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel as well as strictly adhering to infection prevention practices.

Iredell County Public Health Officials continue to encourage individuals to protect themselves to help lessen the spread of COVID-19.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

♦ Follow the Stay at Home Order;
♦ Practice social distancing, which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and keeping 6 feet or more between yourself and others;
♦ Frequent hand washing 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 soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol;
♦ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash;
♦ Stay home when you’re sick;
♦ Keep distance from others who are sick;
♦ Avoid touching your face;
♦ Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles; and
♦ Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people, like grocery
stores or pharmacies, and still try to practice social distancing.

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