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COVID-19 cluster found at Haywood jail

COVID-19 cluster found at Haywood jail

Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has identified a COVID-19 cluster at the Haywood County Detention Center. Over the last week, seven incarcerated persons have tested positive for COVID-19.

Everyone entering the jail is tested upon booking and before they enter the general population. Over the past few months, several people have tested positive upon arrival, but the numbers did not reach the level of a cluster. The majority of new cases associated with the detention center are testing positive on the way in. According to COVID-19 protocols, whenever the detention center is in an outbreak status every incarcerated person is tested every three days until the outbreak status ends.

In addition, Health and Human Services are providing vaccinations to all incarcerated persons who wished to be vaccinated and will continue to do so as needed.

Statement from Haywood County Sheriff's Office: 
“Our Detention Center staff has continued to work diligently to protect our inmates and fellow team members from the virus. We are following guidelines put forth by the CDC and our Public Health Department. The inmates that have tested positive are being monitored closely by our contracted nursing service and we will stay on top of this serious issue until this medical concern is resolved, “ said Sheriff Greg Christopher.

Statement from Haywood County Health and Human Services:
“The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has been working closely with HHS from the onset of this pandemic They are following CDC guidelines for quarantining of positive cases and isolation of close contacts. They are monitoring inmates and staff closely for symptoms and testing appropriately. They have implemented thorough cleaning procedures above and beyond the normal daily routine and continue to enforce masks and social distancing,” said Sarah Henderson, public health director.

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 quarantine under the following conditions: 1) At least 14 days have passed since their positive test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, without wearing a face covering, during the period in which they are contagious.  Based on the information provided during contact tracing, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed, quarantine, and/or testing.

This link: contains information and guidance for business owners and customers of all types of businesses in North Carolina.

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