Kings Mountain nursing home visited by CDC team, report expected Friday according to county health department

Updated: Sep. 11, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WBTV) -A Centers for Disease Control report is expected to come out Friday for a nursing home in our area.

White Oak Manor Kings Mountain has 171 cases among residents and staff to date.

The CDC Strike Team visited the facility on Wednesday to investigate.

According to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) data, it is the worst active outbreak in congregate living facilities in North Carolina.

There were two main issues found in the nursing home, according to the Cleveland County health department. The biggest problem: where sick patients are being placed.

The Public Health Center says the outbreak increased within six weeks. It says the facility was COVID-free for months before the middle of August hit.

“To me, it’s just alarming, said Danny McDowell, who has many connections to White Oak Manor. "I could hardly believe it.”

McDowell said his family works there, his church sings there and he visits residents living there. So, shock set in when he heard about the outbreak.

“It’s sad because it’s not going to get any better. It’s gonna continue to get worse," McDowell said.

More than 70 percent of residents living in the home are infected.

Twenty of Cleveland County’s deaths came from White Oak.

With 110 residents and 61 staff members testing positive, McDowell cannot imagine how the team is running day-to-day.

“I think that is astronomical," McDowell said. "I’m wondering how’s the place still open how are they still functioning?”

White Oak is running with some help.

On Wednesday, a Centers for Disease Control strike team came to their rescue.

The strike team came in to help the administration put together an action plan that worked with the plan already in place.

Operations Manager Greg Forsey declined an interview but sent a statement.

The statement says, “White Oak is working hand in hand with the Health Department to conduct regular testing. We believe this will help us to further tailor our response to COVID-19 within our facility…"

“Sometimes it’s just better to have a fresh set of eyes to look at the situation," said communicable disease specialist Holly Thornburg.

Thornburg works for the Cleveland County Public Health Center. A group from the health department, which included her, joined forces to help the strike team.

“It wasn’t an attack mode," said Thornburg. “It was a way for us to help White Oak Manor to help them see what could possibly help to keep the outbreak continue going.”

Here are the two biggest problems, according to Thornburg’s discussions with the CDC: 1. White Oak is not set up to group sick patients and staff together to keep others from getting sick. 2. staff members were moving symptomatic residents to an area with sick people without knowing the COVID test result.

Thornburg said the facility is working to correct these and anything else coming out in the CDC’s report.

“White Oak Manor is going to be ok. They’re doing everything they can and within their power to get this outbreak under control," Thornburg said.

Another statement from Forsey to family members says, “We are here for you, and we are fighting for your family members. They are our number one priority and we will continuously strive to give them the best care possible no matter the obstacles in our way.”

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