Haywood County HHS identifies a COVID-19 cluster at Waynesville Pharmacy

Press release from Haywood County:

The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency has identified a COVID-19 cluster connected to Waynesville Pharmacy.  Five current or former employees there have tested positive for COVID-19.

Statement from Waynesville Pharmacy:

“Waynesville Pharmacy has prided itself on providing safe and efficient service to our customers while maintaining a safe workplace for our valued employees. Unfortunately, in the past two weeks, five individuals connected to our pharmacy have tested positive with COVID-19. Two individuals who tested positive are former employees of Waynesville Pharmacy and received testing and positive results following their resignations. These individuals remain in isolation in their homes. The other three individuals who are employees of our pharmacy have followed all CDC guidelines and have been working with the Haywood County Health Department to determine all close contacts.

None of the individuals came in connection with any medications or supplies and were not present at the pharmacy while symptomatic or positive. Immediately upon learning of the first positive case with possible linkage to our business, we, as a pharmacy family, chose to hire a third-party cleaning company to ensure the entire workplace was adequately sanitized. We have also decided to provide only drive-thru, curbside, and delivery services at this time to ensure greater safety for our customers and employees.

We follow all CDC and OSHA guidelines, and all employees are required to wear proper PPE while present at the pharmacy. We are continuing to take all the appropriate precautions, such as routine cleanings of all frequently touched surfaces and working in teams with reduced staff members. We value our customers’ and employees’ health and wellbeing above all.

We will continue to work with officials and community COVID-19 taskforce leaders to provide the same safe and reliable service we have offered for over 100 years to the local community. After all, Haywood County is more than just our place of business; it is our home.”

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 isolation under the following conditions: 1) At least 10 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 these employees. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, during the period in which they are contagious.  Based on the information provided by the employees, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed, quarantine, and/or testing.

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