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Trinity Oaks reports spike in positive COVID-19 cases

SALISBURY — A COVID-19 outbreak at Trinity Oaks health and rehab in Salisbury is now the largest in the county after its ownership group reported Sunday that 39 residents and 28 staff members had tested positive.

Those numbers represent a sharp uptick from Wednesday — when the facility reported four staff members and two residents had tested positive. An additional staff member at Trinity at Home, which provides home care, previously tested positive, said ownership group Lutheran Services Carolinas.

“We are working hard to contain the virus, which is confined to one of three separate neighborhoods in the health and rehab building,” said Bill Johnson, Trinity Oaks campus executive director. “We are very aware of how easily this virus can spread and we are taking every precaution we can to limit further exposures.”

Before the recent outbreak, all staff members were tested Aug. 11. There were no COVID-19-positive results then. Lutheran Services also said an infection control survey on June 4 produced results that were deficiency-free.

There had previously been single positive tests among Trinity Oaks health and rehab staff members in April, July and early August. But in those instances, there was no additional spread, said Matt Beam, Trinity Oaks health and rehab administrator.

Lutheran Services Carolinas President Ted Goins said outbreaks in congregate care settings are likely when communities are seeing large numbers of cases. Goins said Lutheran Services had been preparing for a spike in cases for months “knowing that we could be doing everything right and still experience an outbreak.”

“Our hearts go out to our residents and teammates fighting the virus and to our teammates who have been working so hard and under such enormous pressure to care for our residents,” he said.

Lutheran Services says testing for residents and staff will continue, that it is working closely with the Rowan County Health Department in controlling the outbreak and that it will continue to follow control and isolation protocols.

State and local data show the next-largest outbreak in Rowan County is at Autumn Care. There, 45 cases have been reported among residents and staff, with one staff member not being a Rowan County resident. A previous outbreak at The Citadel nursing home has been declared over.

As of Sunday, there were 2,515 COVID-19 positives in Rowan County, 347 active cases and 292 cases at congregate living facilities. Though, the county’s data hub doesn’t yet show cases at Trinity Oaks. The only significant change in Sunday’s local data update was 12 additional positives. Deaths remained at 56 and hospitalizations remained at 23.

The number of cases statewide stood at 155,113 after increasing by 1,472 on Sunday. There were 21,567 tests reported across the state on Sunday and 989 people hospitalized. The number of COVID-19 dead in North Carolina is 2,531, and 2.08 million tests have been conducted.

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