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Second COVID cluster identified at Mountaintop Golf Club

The Jackson County Department of Public Health has identified its second COVID-19 cluster in a single day, announcing that 11 employees at Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club tested positive for the disease so far.

All positive employees are following isolation orders, and additional positive results are expected. The investigation is ongoing, and JCDPH is working to identify any additional close contacts of these employees.

Upon notification of the first positive case, Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club coordinated testing for approximately 12 rapid tests on June 26, 100 swab tests on June 27 and 40 swab tests on June 30. All indoor facilities at Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club were closed on June 27 to allow time for employees to be tested, for symptoms to resolve, and to perform cleaning and disinfecting. Mountaintop Golf & Club has instituted a phased re-opening with the intention of resuming all operations on July 15.

“Mountaintop’s highest priority is the health, wellness and safety of the community, its members, guests and employees,” said General Manager of Mountaintop Golf & Lake Club Chris Robinson. “Mountaintop has engaged a testing provider to aggressively test employees and arranged two on-site testing days for members who wanted to get tested. Mountaintop continues to maintain an aggressive COVID-19 testing program and compliance procedures exceeding minimum requirements.”

Earlier today, the department announced a cluster at Current Dermatology, where five employees tested positive and are following isolation orders. All additional employees have been tested and received negative results. The health department is working to identify close contacts of the positive employees, defined as those who have been within 6 feet of an infected person for a prolonged period of 10 minutes or longer.

Current Dermatology’s offices in Sylva and Clyde have been closed since June 26 and will reopen July 13, allowing time for employees to be tested, for symptoms to resolve and to have both locations cleaned using a third-party cleaning service. All patients seen between June 15 and June 26 have been notified.

“We took all precautions necessary to protect our patients, but since becoming aware of our first associate’s illness on June 27, we quickly realized that there was a need to strengthen our own protocols during staff lunches and times when there were no patients in the clinic,” said Dr. Currie Patterson of Current Dermatology. “At this time, we plan to reopen our Sylva and Clyde offices on Monday, July 13, and are implementing stricter rules regarding PPE, handwashing, and screening for our employees.”

According to the N.C. Division of Public Health, a cluster is defined as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible linkage between cases where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period; that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases, such as household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting.

As of July 7, 141 total cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Jackson County, with 67 of those cases active and in isolation. The largest number of cases is in the 18-24 and 25-49 age groups, with 27 and 37.6 percent of the total cases, respectively. People 65 and older make up 11.3 percent of Jackson County’s total cases. There has been one COVID-19 death in Jackson County thus far, occurring May 3.

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