Governor’s executive order provides protective measures at N.C. nursing homes

Changes to nursing homes during pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order that is designed to provide protective measures at North Carolina nursing homes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order comes a day after a coronavirus outbreak at two Mecklenburg County long-term care facilities.

Cooper issued mandatory orders that prevent gatherings in common spaces at nursing homes, such as dining rooms and group activities.

The order also requires all nursing home employees to weather facemasks, and for all facilities across the state to screen for signs of sickness in workers and residents.

“We strongly encourage other long-term facilities to follow the same guidance,” Cooper said. "We are focusing efforts on these congregate care institutions since the nature of the virus makes them easy targets for outbreaks."

Nursing homes across the state have already been ordered to limit visitors. In fact, visitors are only permitted if a resident is close to dying.

Outbreaks of coronavirus at long-term care facilities

Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed Wednesday they have confirmed outbreaks at two nursing home facilities and investigating a possible third.

On Thursday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting an “outbreak” of coronavirus at The Citadel, a long-term care facility in Rowan County, and at a facility in Cabarrus County.

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.

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