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Monday update: McDowell coronavirus cases reported at living facilities. Known overall county total at 293
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Monday update: McDowell coronavirus cases reported at living facilities. Known overall county total at 293

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The McDowell County Health Department said Monday 14 additional McDowell County residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Public Health officials and the McDowell County Emergency Operations Center have been notified that two congregate living facilities in McDowell County have an outbreak of COVID-19.

In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases. Clear Sky Behavioral LLC, located in Marion, has four residents with laboratory confirmed COVID-19. Deer Park Health & Rehabilitation, located in Nebo, has four staff members that have tested positive for COVID-19.

The McDowell County Health Department and the Emergency Operations Center are working closely with these agencies, as well as other health partners to test all individuals involved, make contingency plans for more positive results and increased sickness among these individuals.

"One of our worst fears since the COVID-19 response started, was that it would get in a congregate living facility and it has happened," said regional Public Health Director Karen Powell. "Public Health, along with the Emergency Operation Center are responding accordingly, with the goal being to stop the spread immediately, to keep residents and employees healthy and to save lives. We are seeing a continual increase of positive results in McDowell County. Transmission is not slowing down and the risk of contracting COVID-19 is as high, if not higher than ever. Wearing a face covering is critical. It can reduce your risk of transmission and protect others as well. I can’t stress the importance of face coverings enough. It can save your life as well as your loved ones. It can help us to lower the numbers and stop transmission. Always wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face."

Transmission is not slowing down and the risk of contracting COVID-19 is as high, if not higher, than ever Powell said.

"Wearing a face covering is critical," she said in a statement. "It can reduce your risk of transmission and protect others as well. I can’t stress the importance of face coverings enough. It can save your life as well as your loved ones. It can help us to lower the numbers and stop transmission."

This brings the total number of positives to 293 in McDowell County. There have been 5,380 people tested, 4,736 negative results and 351 tests are pending results. Presently, there are 91 individuals in quarantine, 200 out of quarantine and two deaths.

The Health Department is working diligently to get in touch with all contacts of positives to offer testing. We continue to quarantine all positives for 14 days. It is critical for Public Health to be ahead of the transmission risk by isolating anyone who has been exposed.

If an individual would like to be tested, they can call the hotline at (828) 527- 6687. The operator will ask a list of questions and will provide the caller with the appropriate instructions based upon the answers given. The hours of operation for this hotline are 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., seven days per week. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Citizens can utilize an online COVID-19 screening tool by going to https://mcdowell.clearstep.health/ and completing the assessment. Additional statistics related to COVID-19 testing in McDowell County can be found by visiting http://www.mcdowellem.com/covid-19.html

Free COVID-19 testing will be conducted at the following locations via a drive-thru setup:

• Grace Community Church; Wednesday, July 15 from 9 a.m. noon, located at 5182 US 70 West in Marion

• McDowell County Health Department; Friday, July 17 from 9-11 a.m..

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