Macon County Public Health officials confirmed that a public health employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
According to MCPH Director Kathy McGaha, the employee has been sent home to self-isolate and is doing well. The employees close contacts have been notified and additional tests will be administered if deemed necessary.
“Since March, Macon County has implemented strong infection control standards in all county facilities to protect county employees and citizens,” McGaha said in a written statement. “Macon County Public Health is confident the risk of exposure for employees and citizens is minimal, and by implementing these measures, the county will continue to provide services safely.”
Among the steps taken by the county to slow the spread of COVID-19 are limiting access to county building and congregate areas, providing personal protective equipment to employees who need it, implementing a screening process for all county employees and moving to appointment-based services to eliminate walk-in traffic in county offices.
Because COVID-19 cases continue to be detected in Macon County, MCPH officials are encouraging business owners to follow the Center for Disease Control guidelines and encourage the “three W’s” – Wash hands often, wear a face covering in public and wait six feet apart.
According to MCPH records, there were 497 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Macon County as of Wednesday. Of those, 35 are active cases, 458 patients have recovered and four people have died as result of the virus.
Statewide there have been 146,779 cases of COVID-19 confirmed and 2,396 deaths.
Phase two continues
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Aug. 5 that North Carolina will remain in phase two of his plan to reopen the state’s economy for at least another five weeks.
In phase two, restaurants can only operate at 50 percent capacity and must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. Bars and nightclubs remain closed completely, as do gyms, massage studios, movie theaters and other large entertainment venues.
The earliest that North Carolina could move into phase three of Copper’s plan is Sept. 11.
In Highlands, the town’s executive order mandates that face coverings must be worn at all times while in public – including along sidewalks in the business district. The next Highlands board of commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.