MCPH identifies another COVID-19 cluster

  • MCPH officials have identified a COVID-19 cluster at the Drake Cottage.
    MCPH officials have identified a COVID-19 cluster at the Drake Cottage.

Macon County Public Health has identified another cluster of COVID-19 cases, this time among the staff and residents of Drake Cottage in Franklin.

MCPH officials confirmed that four individuals have tested positive for the virus as of Monday. Because the cottage is a congregate living facility, a cluster can be identified without meeting the five-case minimum associated with other previous clusters identified by MCPH.

“All the residents and staff of Drake Cottage have been tested for COVID-19 at the direction MCPH’s Medical Director and Drake Cottage staff,” MCPH Director Kathy McGaha said in a written statement. “All results have been received, and all residents and staff will be tested again later in the week. Drake Cottage and Macon County Public Health are working together and have verified that Drake Cottage has all the necessary PPE, sanitizing, and monitoring supplies and guidance they need to assure that any spread is minimal.”

Drake Cottage opened in 2001 and is a group home for youths age 11 and older. It is a part of the Baptist Children’s Homes of NC system.

According to information provided by MCPH, all of the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 are being isolated and are doing well. Drake Cottage staff members have been following personal protective equipment guidelines when working in close contact with residents.

In addition to the Drake Cottage staff and residents, MCPH staff members are working to identify any potential close contacts associated with the four positive cases to determine if further testing is needed.

As of Wednesday, Macon County had 460 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 65 of those being active cases, 387 patients recovered from the virus and three patients deceased.

The 65 active case number is the lowest that the county has seen in more than a month as recoveries have begun to outpace new active cases.

Statewide there have been 126,532 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,982 deaths. Nationwide there have been 4,649,102 cases and 154,471 deaths.


Phase two

North Carolina is currently in phase two of Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to reopen the economy.

Under phase two, bars remain closed and restaurants are only allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity with no alcohol sales after 11 p.m. Other businesses such as entertainment venues, massage studios and gyms also remain closed.

Cooper said in a July 18 briefing that the earliest North Carolina will move into “phase three” of his reopening plan is Aug. 7, and only if the trends support loosening restrictions.