Once state’s largest, Citadel nursing home sees second COVID-19 outbreak

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, August 27, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — As cases at local nursing homes continue to surge, a second COVID-19 outbreak has emerged at The Citadel.

Two residents and one staff member have tested positive, according to a county spokesperson.

The Citadel previously was the site of the largest nursing home outbreak in the state before it was declared over on July 8. The facility had a total of 168 cases there among staff and residents. It is the source of 21 local deaths.

An outbreak is considered over if there is no evidence of continued transmission within the facility, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. This is measured as 28 days after the latest date of onset in a symptomatic person or the first date of specimen collection from the most recent asymptomatic person, whichever is later.

Additionally, 33 people were reported positive Thursday at Accordius Health at Salisbury after seven cases were reported there on Wednesday. One person has died at the facility, which is owned by the same company as The Citadel. County data show there are four positive employees and 36 positive residents at Accordius Health.

The county’s total number of deaths is now at 62. Nine of those deaths have occurred at active congregate living outbreaks, including Accordius Health, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab and Autumn Care. Others occurred at prior outbreaks and 16 are from other congregate care facilities.

Because of the recent surge at nursing homes, there have been nearly 400 COVID-19 cases at local congregate care facilities, with 151 of those currently active. Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab is the site of the largest outbreak as 27 employees and 40 residents have tested positive. A total of 11 employees and 33 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at Autumn Care, along with one positive employee and one positive resident at Compass Health of Spencer.

On Aug. 7, state health officials ordered all nursing home staff be retested for COVID-19 every other week in facilities without a confirmed case, and weekly in facilities with active cases.

County spokesperson TJ Brown said local congregate care facilities are taking all the necessary precautions, and the Health Department continues to do the best it can to be proactive and ensure facilities have necessary guidance for preventing and mitigating outbreaks. He said the county’s nursing home coordinator is checking on local nursing homes weekly, and county health officials are hosting a weekly call for facilities with active outbreaks.

Brown added that The Citadel continued to periodically participate in the weekly calls with county health officials even after its first outbreak was declared over.

A total of 2,665 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Rowan County, with 400 of those cases currently positive. The total number of tests reported is 29,311, and 26,646 of those are negative, amounting to a percent positive rate of 9.09%.

Hospitalizations — a number that’s updated daily — decreased to 22 on Thursday. However, local hospitals report the total number of beds and ventilators being used by patients — some of whom may not live in Rowan County — once a week. Out of the total 103 beds available for COVID-19 patients, 56 are being used and seven ventilators are being used from the local supply of 61.

Hospitalizations across the state also improved on Thursday after a decrease of 46 brought the total to 958. A total of 161,076 people have tested positive after 2.15 million completed tests, for a rate of 8.2%. Of those, 2,630 people have died since the pandemic came to North Carolina.

The state’s average testing turnaround time remains around two days. That number is calculated by adding together the average number of days between the specimen collection to the lab result and the average number of days it takes to electronically report the results to the state.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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