Three test positive here

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Three Clay County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. The first case was confirmed Monday morning, the second Tuesday afternoon and the third was confirmed about 11 a.m. Wednesday.

All three individuals’ contacts have been traced to a contra dance at the Campbell Folk School in Brasstown on March 10, according to Clay County Public Health Direc- tor Stephanie Johnson

“All have had low-to-mild symptoms and are doing well in recovery as well as the fact that they are all still in isolation at this time,” Johnson said. “Current state guidance says that isolation orders are to remain in effect for a minimum of 14 days after a positive test is identified.”

The Clay County Health Department is following state guidance on the continuation of their isolation period for extra precaution. Johnson said all potential contacts of this individual have been notified.

In Cherokee County four cases were linked to the March 10 contra dance. Last week, the Cherokee Scout re- ported that a visitor originally from New York, had tested

positive for COVID-19 who had also attended the contra dance.

In addition, the Scout said three additional cases were household contacts of the New York resident – two were Cherokee County residents, while the other was from Illinois. All three have been in isolation in a Cherokee County private residence with the New York resident since she was tested. They were in isolation before showing symptoms, according to the report.

The Folk School reported that about 90 students and local residents attended the contra and square dance. They suspended all class- es and events on March 13 ahead of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Stay At Home Order issued March 28.

On Tuesday, Cherokee County Health Department reported the first COVID-19 associated death by a Cherokee County resident. The individual was described as a person in his/her late 80s who died Tuesday, March 31 from complications associated with COVID-19.

Health and emergency officials agree the positive case numbers will increase particularly as more tests become available.

“We are expecting that there will be more positive tests in the coming weeks; however, it is important to be mindful that for every positive, there are more negative results we are see- ing in our county. In the last two days we have received 11 negative results compared to two positives,” Johnson said. 

Protocols have an individual in isolation from the moment testing occurs for added safety, and signed documentation is issued to that individual about what isolation means, how and when to contact staff and potential consequences for breaking those isolation orders.

Johnson explained that education is given to other household members, as they will need to have a medical assessment done to determine the need for testing along with isolation. Contact lists are drafted by the individual who is tested and health department staff begins the contact process so that an assessment can be done to determine if further testing or other quarantine/ isolation is warranted.

Johnson said they have received questions about the difference between quarantine and isolation. She referred to the definitions given by the U.S. Department of Health and Hu- man Services:

• Isolation separates sick people with a contagious dis- ease from people who are not sick.

• Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were ex- posed to a contagious disease to see if they be- come sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

It is advised that anyone who becomes ill with a respiratory type illness should isolate until the following criteria are met:

• Seven days have passed since the onset of symptoms; and

• At least 72 hours without a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and respiratory symptoms are improving

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, individuals should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneeze with your elbow.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the Clay County Health Department, CDC and NCDHHS. Here’s how to stay informed:

• Visit the CDC’s website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

• NCDHHS’ website: www. ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will include positive

COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

• Clay County Health Department regularly updates their county call-in line at 389-8052 Ext. 110 with information regarding COVID-19 as well as their Facebook page.

• An additional local call line for the community at (828) 835-4258 which is staffed 9 .m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.