The regional health department says it’s responding to an outbreak of COVID-19 at an Elizabeth City long-term care facility.
An Albemarle Regional Health Services press release over the weekend reported the outbreak at Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation, which is located off U.S. Highway 17 South. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services considers an outbreak of the virus at “congregate” facilities like nursing homes to be two or more cases.
An ARHS spokeswoman said one of the COVID-19 cases at Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation involved an employee; the other involved a resident. One of the persons has recovered, the spokeswoman said.
ARHS said when outbreaks of COVID-19 are identified at facilities like Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation, additional testing and contact tracing are performed to manage exposure to the virus and protect both staff and residents.
“ARHS stands committed to working with Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation to assist them in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of their residents and staff,” ARHS Director Battle Betts Jr. said in the release.
According to ARHS, Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation staff have enacted safety measures “beyond what the Centers for Disease Control has recommended” for preventing spread of the virus.
Those measures include restricting visitors’ access to the facility, canceling all group activities, and screening staff and residents. Health care providers and local emergency medical personnel are also screened before entering the facility.
The facility’s management are also ensuring residents’ temperatures are taken daily, respiratory assessments are performed, isolation precautions are followed and that staff use personal protective equipment.
“Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation is proactively managing the situation in order to quickly mobilize resources and actions to limit additional spread of the virus,” ARHS said in the release. “Management and staff from the facility have been in close contact with ARHS communicable disease staff and are following local and state guidance.”
ARHS’ release also contains a statement from Darin Hopping, regional operations manager for SanStone Healthcare. According to its website, the Arden-based company operates 17 long-term care facilities in North Carolina, including the one in Elizabeth City.
“The safety of residents and staff has always been and continues to be a top priority at Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation,” Hopping said. “This has never been truer than in our current situation. The elderly are especially susceptible to this virus and as healthcare providers, we agree that stopping its spread is a critical issue that requires our complete attention and most competent efforts.”
Hopping said Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation’s leadership is in “very close communication” with local, state and federal health officials “to ensure we continue to take the appropriate recommended actions.”