COVID-19 cluster identified at Town of Waynesville Finance Department office

Press release from Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency:

The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has identified a COVID-19 cluster connected to the Town of Waynesville Finance Department. Five employees and two close contacts of those employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

“This goes back to our ‘It Only Takes One’ slide from a few months ago.  One presymptomatic case in an office setting not wearing a mask and others with inconsistent mask usage has now caused six additional cases at this time,” said Patrick Johnson, Haywood County Public Health Director.

According to a statement from Town Manager, Robert Hites: “The employees were quarantined immediately after the first case was discovered. In addition to quarantining staff, the finance building has been disinfected twice. The Finance Office is open for drive-through service with staff members from other departments handling the phones and drive-through window.

We have followed the advice of the Haywood County Health Department as the Town works its way through the event. Customers that conduct business at the drive-through window will not be carrying out business with staff members that have been in contact with any of the affected employees.”

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as,  1) A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND, 2) plausible linkage between cases where cases were present in the same setting during the same time period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Symptomatic individuals who test positive will be required to remain in isolation under the following conditions: 1) At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND, 2) At least 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND 3) Symptoms (like cough and shortness of breath) have improved. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive will be required to remain in quarantine under the following conditions: 1) At least 14 days have passed since their positive test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

Haywood County Public Health is working to identify any additional close contacts of people identified in this cluster. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, without wearing a face covering, during the period in which they are contagious.  Based on the information provided during contact tracing, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed, quarantine, and/or testing.

This link: contains information and guidance for business owners and customers of all types of businesses in North Carolina.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.