MONROE — Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Union County in the spring of 2020, congregant living facilities have been on high alert to reduce the spread of the virus.
Omicron is a more infectious strain of COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The first Omicron case was confirmed in the United States on Dec. 1, 2021.
“The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms,” the CDC reports.
Therefore, nursing homes continue to be hyper vigilant in caring for their residents in the wake of a spiking number of new cases. “The data shows COVID cases among both residents and staff in nursing homes are rapidly increasing in the past few weeks, mirroring trends among the general U.S. population due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a key indicator of outbreaks in nursing homes,” per the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
“We anticipated this would happen and called on long term care providers to prepare for Omicron by doubling down on their efforts to get residents boosted as well as their infection prevention measures,” Dr. David Gifford, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for AHCA/NCAL and a geriatrician said in an email sent to the Enquirer-Journal. “Fortunately, the vaccines appear to be working against Omicron, but we must remain vigilant and steadfast on vaccinating and boosting as many residents and staff members as quickly as possible.”
On Jan. 11, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated information about the number of current and total cases and deaths among nursing homes and residential care facilities in each county. This data is for 2022 only.
In Union County:
Autumn Care of Marshville has eight cases among staff and no deaths. They have two cases among residents and zero current deaths.
Jesse Helms Nursing Center has seven cases among staff. There are no cases related to residents and no deaths.
Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has eight cases among staff. Zero residents have tested positive at this time. There have been zero deaths at this facility.
Monroe Rehabilitation Center has had 22 cases among staff and 17 among patients. There have been five deaths among patients. There are a total of 39 cases and five deaths.
Pruitt Health-Union Pointe has seven cases among staff and one case between residents. They have had zero deaths.
White Oak of Waxhaw has 12 cases among staff and two cases among residents. They have had zero deaths.
Anderson Health Services has a total of eight cases — two between staff and six between residents. No deaths have been reported.
Brookdale Monroe Square 1 has three cases among staff. No cases between residents and no reported deaths.
Woodridge Assisted Living Facility has two cases among staff. Zero cases between residents and no deaths were reported.
In the Union County Jail, there have been eight cases among incarcerated members. Zero cases between staff and zero deaths were reported.
The CDC continues to report vaccines are the best line of defense against COVID variants because they slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. At this time, they recommend everyone five years of age and older be fully vaccinated and everyone 16 years of age and older receive a booster shot.
“You are eligible for a booster at 5 months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, 6 months after completing Moderna primary series, and 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine. Individuals ages 16-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,” the center states on their Omicron webpage.