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COVID-19 cluster identified at Haywood Regional

The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has identified a COVID-19 cluster connected to Haywood Regional Hospital.  Currently, fewer than 20 of more than 800 current employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Statement from Haywood Regional Hospital:

“Haywood Regional Medical Center’s top priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of our patients, providers, employees, and the community. We recently learned that some members of our team along with a number of patients have tested positive for COVID-19. We are working closely with the Haywood County Health & Human Services Agency and the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) and are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the safety of our patients and staff members. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HRMC has maintained safety policies – including universal masking, hand hygiene, appropriate CDC isolation procedures, and staff and visitor screening at all entrances. Per CDC and NCDHHS guidelines, we have identified those who came in contact with these individuals and are following the appropriate protocols.

"We are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our friends and neighbors in Haywood County and beyond. We want to remind the community not to postpone seeking the healthcare you need right now. We are here to provide the safe and excellent care you expect from us, and we look forward to serving you.”

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as 1) A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND, 2) plausible linkage between cases where cases were present in the same setting during the same time period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Symptomatic individuals who test positive will be required to remain in isolation under the following conditions: 1) At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND, 2) At least 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND 3) Symptoms (like cough and shortness of breath) have improved. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive will be required to remain in isolation under the following conditions: 1) At least 10 days have passed since their positive test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

Haywood County Public Health is working to identify any additional close contacts of these employees. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, during the period in which they are contagious.  Based on the information provided by the employees, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed, quarantine, and/or testing.

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