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Health department reports spread of COVID-19 at retirement center, 2 daycare centers

Alamance County’s Health Department announced Tuesday additional cases involving the spread of COVID-19 at both ends of the age spectrum in Alamance County – at one retirement home and two day care centers.


COVID-19 outbreak at Liberty Commons

An outbreak has been discovered at Liberty Commons in Burlington.  According to the health department, the initial case count indicated 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among one staff and 20 residents at the facility.

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The state defines an “outbreak” as two laboratory-confirmed cases in a period of 28 days within a congregate living or long-term care facility. Regular testing is required through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to provide surveillance as protective factor for both staff and residents.

The health department reported on the retirement home’s response: “Liberty Commons will be administering COVID-19 tests for all staff members and residents twice weekly until further notice,” stated Jim Newman, administrator at Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation, according to an announcement from the health department.

County health director Tony Lo Giudice said, “Alamance County Health Department has collaborated with Liberty Commons to offer testing and guidance to mitigate the outbreak as quickly as possible in order to keep staff, residents, and our community safe.  We will continue to work with the facility by conducting surveillance testing and continuing communication between the Health Department, hospital partners and the facility.”


COVID-19 clusters discovered at child care facilities in Burlington and Mebane

          Meanwhile, the department also announced Tuesday that it had identified COVID-19 clusters at MUMS Childcare in Mebane and Little Thinkers Daycare in Burlington.

According to the department, there are currently eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 among three staff members and five children at MUMS Childcare.

At Little Thinkers Daycare, there are six cases among three staff members and three children.

The state defines a “cluster” as a minimum of five laboratory-confirmed cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.

“Alamance County Health Department was able to identify cases and respond to MUMS Childcare and Little Thinkers Daycare quickly,” stated health director Tony Lo Giudice. “We will continue to offer guidance to ensure the safety of staff, children, and the community.”

Earlier this month, Lo Giudice told Alamance County’s commissioners that the department had, at that point, reported outbreaks of two or more cases at five area nursing homes, four long-term care facilities, and one homeless shelter, as well as “clusters” of at least five infections at one elementary school and one daycare center.

Alamance County’s new health director Tony Lo Giudice before Alamance County’s commissioners on Monday, December 7, 2020.


Vaccine has arrived for health care workers

Meanwhile, top health department officials were among the first locally to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

Alamance County health director Tony Lo Giudice getting his shot with COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Among those vaccinated were county health director Tony Lo Giudice; medical director Dr. Kimberly Newton; and director of nursing Gayle Shoffner.


Background of COVID-19’s impact in Alamance County

Alamance County Health Department identified its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 20.

Since then, a total of 9,939 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the community, according to the health department.

Of those confirmed cases, 8,886 have been released from isolation and 919 remain active and in isolation. Included in those active cases, 56 individuals are receiving care at a hospital.

There have been 134 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the health department. COVID-related deaths include only patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, and who died without fully recovering from the disease.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in Alamance and surrounding counties, according to the department.

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