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Gaston County congregate care facilities report COVID-19 outbreaks

Gaston County DHHS will be holding a news conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the continued spike in COVID-19 cases.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gaston County's Department of Health and Human Services announced five congregate care facilities are battling COVID-19 outbreaks.

The facilities include Brian Center Health & Rehabilitation in Gastonia; Peak Resources in Cherryville; Holy Angels in Belmont; Carolina Care in Cherryville and Alexandria Place in Gastonia.

Brian Center had the most cases of the five facilities with 16 residents and two staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.

Peak Resources reported eight positive residents and two staff members while Carolina Care reported two positive residents and four staff members.

Alexandria Place had four residents and one staff member test positive while Holy Angels had one resident and one staff member test positive.

Holy Angels' CEO Regina Moody said their first case was a staff member who tested positive during one of her days off. 

"I think the community spread that we've seen in Gaston County may have had an impact. We're not really sure," Moody said. "We went well over a 100 days before we even had a case."

Chief Nursing Officer Louise Pernisi said during the time the Holy Angels employee was working, she was wearing a surgical mask.

"I think that made a significant impact in limiting what could've been a horrific activity," Pernisi said.

After the worker tested positive, Pernisi said they conducted widespread testing and found only one resident had coronavirus, but he was asymptomatic.

"[He] has been in isolation for 14 days, and he still has no symptoms," Pernisi said. "Which is a great joy for us that he was not seriously impacted."

Moody said with cases spiking, she hoped people in the county take the coronavirus seriously

"I can't stress enough the importance of wearing a mask out in public," Moody said. "We stress that constantly with our own staff."

Holy Angels continues to conduct temperature checks and restrict visitors to the facility.

Brian Center released the following statement:

We can confirm that there are currently sixteen (16) residents and (2) staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 following testing of the entire center this week. We are working closely with the health authorities to follow their guidance and will continue to be transparent with all information released to the authorities, family members and the wider public, while maintaining the dignity and privacy of each of our residents.

This is an ongoing fight, and one that we are prepared to keep fighting. As many people remain asymptomatic, we are continuing to monitor the situation closely and testing residents/staff in a timely manner. Testing is an important step to control the virus. With regard to testing, we follow state and federal guidelines and work closely with the local health authorities to follow their guidance when determining how broadly to test.

We are continually evaluating our use of technology in our centers, ensuring we are embracing the latest technology and implementing innovative procedures to keep our residents and staff safe. 

Our absolute top priority is the safety and care of our residents, and we are taking immense measures to safeguard those who are not infected, and isolate and treat those who are. We continue to take significant steps to protect all our residents and staff, including:  

  • Providing appropriate PPE, taking heightened precautions and adhering to protocols outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Before every shift, we assess the health of our staff and screen all staff members for respiratory illness, which includes a temperature check. If a staff member does not feel well, they have clear direction to stay home, and we have put in place a number of support mechanisms to help them during this time. 
  • We are also restricting visitation at this time based on guidance from the CDC and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Gaston County DHHS will be holding a news conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss a continued spike in COVID-19 cases.


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