Three of the positive individuals are residents, and the fourth is an employee.
Upon notification of the first positive case, Hermitage coordinated with the Jackson County Department of Public Health to determine next steps. Quarantine and testing were recommended for close contacts of the first positive case. Upon identification of the second positive case, The Hermitage Assisted Living and Memory Care and JCDPH coordinated testing for close contacts of the second positive case, continued mandatory testing of staff, continued monitoring residents for any symptoms, and coordinated testing for all other residents in the facility. The investigation is ongoing, and JCDPH is working to identify close contacts of all positive individuals.
The N.C. Division of Public Health defines an outbreak in a long-term care setting as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within two incubation periods, or 28 days, at the same facility.
All positive individuals are following isolation orders. Symptomatic individuals who test positive will be required to remain in isolation until at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, a least 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and symptoms have improved. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive must remain in isolation until at least 10 days have passed since their positive test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.
The cluster at Hermitage is one of two ongoing COVID-19 clusters at long-term care facilities in Jackson County. A cluster was announced at Skyland Care Center in Sylva on Nov. 5, and as of Nov. 25 four employees had tested positive, though no residents as of yet. The cluster is still considered open, however.
Current information about COVID-19 in Jackson County is available at health.jacksonnc.org/covid19. For COVID-19 questions, call the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center at 828.631.HELP.