COVID-19 outbreaks reported at two Meck. County nursing homes, third being investigated

Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed Wednesday they have confirmed outbreaks at two nursing home facilities and investigating a possible third.

An “outbreak," according to Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris, is considered as “two or more individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.”

North Carolina officials said there are a total of 21 outbreaks across the entire state, 18 of which are at long-term care facilities.

Officials have not named the facilities that have confirmed outbreaks or said how many patients tested positive at those facilities.

“What I want to re-emphasize is that a month and half to two months ago we worked with our long-term care facilities in this community to restrict visitation and to do the things we know will help them maintain the safety and health of their population.” Harris said. “They have been doing this in very strict ways - we’ve been working with them on that. They’re communicating with us regularly.”

She added that the facilities are doing what they need to do to protect the rest of their residents.

Harris confirmed the outbreak during a Mecklenburg County press conference as the county reported nine coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of cases in the county climbed to 839 Wednesday.

WATCH LIVE | MECKLENBURG COUNTY COVID-19: More than 800 people have coronavirus in Mecklenburg County with 8 reported deaths » County health officials are providing an update now.

Posted by WBTV News on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The total number of cases in North Carolina was at 3,426 as of Wednesday afternoon, with 53 reported deaths.

On April 3, officials announced four Mecklenburg County first responders tested positive for the coronavirus, while 41 other first responders are in quarantine.

These first responders include two officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, one ambulance worker with Mecklenburg EMS and one firefighter with Charlotte Fire Department.

Officials say 14 CMPD employees are quarantined, 13 CFD employees are quarantined and 14 Mecklenburg EMS workers are quarantined.

“The County and City have been prepared for this possibility as our first responders have a difficult job that requires them to place their lives on the line to protect the public. We owe them and their family a debt of gratitude and we wish them a speedy recovery” said Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director.

Officials say public safety agencies have placed several preventive measures to keep frontline responders safe.

Atrium and Novant Health systems have asked Mecklenburg County and its partners to build a mass care field hospital to treat as many as 3,000 additional COVID-19 patients during the anticipated surge of the virus. The hospital would be set up on the UNC Charlotte campus.

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