COVID-19 ‘clusters’ reported at childcare facility, high school in Iredell County

Updated: Jul. 11, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT
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UPDATE: State officials have now cleared North Iredell High School as an active cluster.

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Clusters of COVID-19 cases have been reported in a daycare facility and a high school in Iredell County.

The report came Friday, just days after NCDHHS Secretery Mandy Cohen announced the state would begin reporting coronavirus “clusters,” which are considered five or more cases.

A cluster of cases was reported at Primrose School of Lake Norman. Another cluster was reported at a school in the area. NCDHHS reported five staff members at North Iredell High School have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The department has since cleared the high school as a cluster, meaning it no longer has at least five active cases.

“NCDHHS refers to this as a ‘cluster’ rather than an ‘outbreak’ because of the setting, as it is difficult to accurately determine how transmission occurred and whether it occurred within the setting or from within the broader community,” the Iredell County Health Department says.

The Primrose School of Lake Norman says the facility will be closed through July 13 while it is sanitized. Health leaders say they will continue to contact trace to identify anyone who came in contact with an infected person.

Becky and Doug Bradley, franchise owners of Primrose School of Lake Norman, released the following statement:

“At Primrose School of Lake Norman, our highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of our staff and every child entrusted to our care. Upon learning of two teachers’ positive COVID-19 diagnoses on June 24, we immediately notified our staff and enrolled families, including personally contacting the parents of children in the affected classrooms. Additionally, we notified Iredell County Health Department and made the decision to close the school for two days to allow time to deep clean and sanitize.

“Since then, we have continued to remain in close contact with the Iredell County Health Department as we learned of additional cases. Out of an abundance of caution, we have chosen to extend our school closure through July 13. When we reopen, we will continue our rigorous health and safety measures that include, but are not limited to: cleaning and sanitizing the school daily; sanitation fogging; frequent handwashing; parent drop off outside of the building; and temperature and symptom monitoring.

“Our thoughts and wishes for a rapid recovery and good health are with the affected children and staff and their families.”

There is also a cluster of cases at Smart Kids #3 Childcare Center in Mecklenburg County, where DHHS reports one staff member and five children have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Iredell County Public Health officials released the following ways people can protect themselves and lessen the spread of COVID-19:

  • 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.
  • 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

Currently, NCDHHS is reporting clusters at 5 child care facilities and 1 school in North Carolina.

On June 24, Cooper announced that residents would be required to wear face masks in public and that the state’s Phase 2 will continue for three more weeks, as coronavirus cases continue to rise at an alarming rate.

[ North Carolina governor will require face masks in public amid coronavirus pandemic ]

“The Iredell County Health Department has been encouraging all schools and child-care providers to follow the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines and State directives meant to curb the spread of COVID19,” Iredell County health leaders say, which includes:

  • Promoting healthy hygiene practices
  • Monitoring the health of staff prior to their entrance into the building
  • Elevated cleaning, sanitizing
  • Proper ventilation
  • Promoting social distancing

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