In consideration of the following COVID-19 related information to date, the Moore County Health Department has determined that further testing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Moore County is not necessary at this time.
• Roughly 1/4 (23.9%) of Moore County residents are 65 years of age or older. Individuals in the 65+ age bracket are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19 infection.
• Nationwide data shows that about 1/4 of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 did not have any symptoms.
• Testing of all residents and staff performed at Pinehurst Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center the week of April 6 disclosed a total of 45 COVID-19 infections out of a total resident population of 96, as well as a total of eight staff member infections out of a total staff population of 115.
• Some staff members at nursing homes in Moore County serve more than one nursing home.
• Control measures for all long-term care facilities are the same, regardless of the presence of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case.
Given the above information, it is highly likely that the COVID-19 virus is present in all Moore County nursing homes, and they must act accordingly to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 testing provides only a snapshot in time,” says Moore County Health Department Director Robert Wittmann. “An individual may test negative one day and positive the next. Without complete and continuous testing with rapid results, we have no way to truly get a handle on virus transmission. At this time, we do not have the testing capabilities for such an undertaking.”
The Moore County Health Director instructs that all long-term care facilities in Moore County stringently follow the mandates set forth by Governor Roy Cooper in Executive Order 131 announced earlier this week. The order set the following guidelines for long-term care facilities:
• All staff must wear facemasks while in the facility.
• All communal and group activities should be canceled and communal areas should be closed to group activity.
• All staff must be screened daily for symptoms. If symptomatic, that employee should be sent home to isolate and recover.
• Actively monitor all residents daily for symptoms and contact the Health Department immediately if symptoms manifest.
• Residents who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 are to isolate in a separate part of the facility away from other residents and provided with care from designated staff assigned to this area only.
These orders are in addition to a previous Executive Order that restricted all visitors and non-essential healthcare personnel from entering such facilities. These directives should be followed closely in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and universal precautions should be taken in every facility regardless of the presence of confirmed or suspected cases.
“Further, we must conclude that the COVID-19 virus is present throughout the County, regardless of geographic location or zip-code region,” said Wittmann.