From Staff Reports
Outbreaks of COVID-19 have happened at two long-term care facilities in Orange County. Both Signature HealthCARE on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill and PruittHealth – Carolina Point on Mount Sinai Road, north of the town, have seen multiple cases of the viral disease.
“We are deeply concerned for the staff and residents and their families who are affected by this outbreak,” said Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart. “The best thing we can all do to help them is to remain diligent and practice social distancing.”
PruittHealth has at least 60 positive cases, according to officials, and the total includes staff and residents. Seven residents are at Duke University Hospital. Signature has three positive tests and those patients are being cared for at UNC Hospitals.
More test results are pending for both facilities.
Because long-term care facilities have been known to be at high risk for COVID-19, a team from the Orange County Health Department and Orange County EMS has been working with facilities for weeks to assess their operations, sanitation and social distancing policies to be sure that it follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
They share best practices for personal protective equipment in order to conserve and use equipment properly, as well as make requests to the State for additional PPE, if needed.
Long-Term Care Facilities have instituted the following policies:
- All nursing home staff wear masks to prevent inadvertent spread of COVID-19.
- Communal areas are closed.
- Non-essential personnel are not allowed on site.
- Daily health screenings of staff.
- Facilities immediately notify the Orange County Health Department about new or suspected cases.
- COVID-19 positive residents and staff are separated from other residents and staff.
- Staff who work at multiple facilities must only work at one facility throughout the pandemic.
Long-term care facilities plan for redundancy of staff and have back-up plans to ensure continuity of care for residents. Facilities proactively transport residents with aggressive symptoms to area hospitals before their condition deteriorates to increase their chances for better outcomes. Staff from the respective facilities are contacting relatives and guardians of the residents to make them aware of the outbreak and individual resident status.