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Senior Living CommunitiesFor First Time in a Year, No Moore County Nursing Homes on Outbreak List | Coronavirus News | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors

For First Time in a Year, No Moore County Nursing Homes on Outbreak List | Coronavirus News | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors

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For the first time in over a year, no long-term care facilities in Moore County are known to be experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

On Friday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released an updated report on ongoing outbreaks in so-called congregate living settings, which include nursing homes, assisted living communities and jails.

An outbreak is defined by the state as two or more active infections, and facilities listed in the report are removed only after going at least 28 days with no new cases. If additional infections are identified at a facility after that period, a new outbreak is declared.

Four local facilities were removed from the report on Friday. They include:

The Health Center at St. Joseph of the Pines, which had been under an outbreak since August. A total of 126 cases of COVID-19, 71 of which involved elderly residents of the nursing home, and 11 coronavirus-related deaths are linked to the outbreak.

Peak Resources Pinelake, a Carthage nursing home that experienced its third outbreak after a resident and an employee tested positive in March. No other cases were reported in connection with the most recent outbreak.

The Greens, a Pinehurst nursing home that was also experiencing its third outbreak. Three cases, all involving residents, are tied to the most recent outbreak.

Fox Hollow Senior Living, an assisted living community where a second outbreak began in January. Three staff members and a resident tested positive during the most recent outbreak.

Every nursing home and assisted living community in Moore County has suffered at least one outbreak since April 2020, when the area’s first outbreak was identified an Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. According to a Pilot analysis, about 11 percent of the county’s total cases and 56 percent of coronavirus-related deaths are tied to outbreaks in long-term care settings.

Hospital Seeing Younger Patients

With the majority of older adults in Moore County now vaccinated against COVID-19, the average age of hospitalized residents has decreased.

At FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, the median age of COVID-19 patients was 69 when infections peaked in January. The median age for April was 61 as of Tuesday.

“We have seen a slight decrease in the median age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and we expect that trend to continue over the coming weeks,” said Jayne Lee, director of infection control and patient safety for the hospital. “We’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients from nursing homes, and most of the patients treated for COVID-19 over the last several weeks have been unvaccinated. In fact, all patients currently being treated for COVID-19 at Moore Regional are unvaccinated.”

Older adults and people in nursing homes were among the first people eligible for vaccination in the state, which has since expanded eligibility to all North Carolinians.

Data from N.C. DHHS show that over 30,000 residents of Moore County, or about 30.5 percent of the county’s total population, are fully vaccinated. More than half of the county’s fully vaccinated residents are 65 or older.

Twenty-six people were being treated for COVID-19 across the FirstHealth system on Thursday evening, with most of those patients based at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

Death Count Rises

On Monday, the Moore County Health Department recorded its first new coronavirus-related death in nearly a month.

Matt Garner, public information officer for the department, said the deceased individual was a white woman in the 50-to-64 age range.

A total of 189 residents have now died of complications from COVID-19, according to the agency. The tally last increased on March 24.

Nearly 8,660 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Moore County since the start of the pandemic, according to the health department. The county saw a rolling average of 13 new cases for the seven days ending Friday, an increase from the previous week’s average of 12 infections.

The positivity rate for coronavirus testing in Moore County stands at 6.4 percent, higher than the statewide average of 5.1 percent.

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