COVID-19 Cluster Confirmed At Iredell County School

Kimberly Johnson

IREDELL COUNTY, NC — A cluster of several COVID-19 cases was confirmed at North Iredell High School in Olin, county health officials said Thursday. The Iredell County Health Department said it received confirmation of the cluster, which is defined as at least five cases, June 11, one day after the positive cases were reported by Iredell-Statesville Schools.

The five people who tested positive are staff at the school, a health department spokesperson told Patch.

"At this time, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services considers five or more cases in a school or child-care facility to be a cluster," ICHD said in a statement. "NCDHHS refers to this as a 'cluster' rather than an 'outbreak' because of the setting, as it is difficult to accurately determine how transmission occurred and whether it occurred within the setting or from within the broader community. "

The health department said it was working closely with the school district to monitor the situation and conduct contact tracing to identify those who may have come in contact with those infected.

"The Iredell County Health Department has been encouraging all schools and child-care providers to follow the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines and State directives meant to curb the spread of COVID-19," ICHD said. "A key part of these directives include strict adherence to infection prevention practices such as promoting healthy hygiene practices, monitoring the health of staff prior to their entrance into the building, elevated cleaning, sanitizing, proper ventilation, and promoting social distancing."

The health department offer these tips to help lessen the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practice social distancing, which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and keeping 6 feet or more between yourself and others
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Keep distance from others who are sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles.
  • Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people, like grocery stores or pharmacies, and still try to practice social distancing.

As of Thursday, the county confirmed 382 COVID-19 cases, and said five county residents were hospitalized with coronavirus-related illness. North Carolina recorded a record-breaking 812 coronavirus-related hospitalizations Thursday, as the state's supply of intensive care beds dwindled to 13 percent availability, according to data released by NCDHHS.

Six Iredell County residents have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since collection of data related to the outbreak began in March.

About 7 percent of the county's confirmed cases were children under 17 years of age, ICHD data indicated Thursday. Most of the cases — about 44 percent — were of residents who were 25 to 49 years old.

The county's COVID-19 case tally is cumulative and, as of June 11, included an estimated 225 cases that are assumed recovered, while at least 146 Iredell County residents were isolating in their homes, according to the health department.

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Iredell County health officials are grouping cases into three regions of the county: North, Central and South. Here's a breakdown of where cases have been confirmed as of 4 p.m. June 11:

North Region (zip codes 27020, 27028, 27055, 28625, 28634, 28636, 28660, 28689 and 28678)

  • 92 cases (up from 73 cases reported June 5)

Central Region (zip codes 27013, 28166, 28677)

  • 145 cases (up from 119 cases reported June 5)

South Region (zip codes 28036, 28115, 28117, 28125)

  • 145 cases (up from 135 cases reported June 5)

The county's COVID-19 count includes a confirmed outbreak at The Citadel nursing home in Mooresville, where one staff member and one resident have tested positive. Health officials consider two or more cases at congregate living facilities, such as a nursing home or jail, to be an outbreak. As of Thursday, state public health officials confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in 101 nursing homes, 54 residential care facilities and 19 correctional facilities.

North Carolina labs confirmed 1,064 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, increasing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 39,481. At least 1,064 residents have lost their lives to COVID-19.

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This article originally appeared on the Mooresville Patch