COVID-19 update: Outbreak cited at Black Mountain-based rehabilitation center

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Mountain Ridge Health and Rehab is listed by the state as having a COVID-19 outbreak with two staff cases.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Mountain Ridge Health and Rehab is listed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as having an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Dec. 8 report.

The Black Mountain-based rehabilitation center has reported two total cases among staff members. It was previously listed with an outbreak in a Sept. 8 report as having 13 staff cases with 33 resident cases and five resident deaths.

Though it was previously listed as having an outbreak, the outbreak was "closed" by the state on Nov. 3. An outbreak is considered over if there is no more evidence of continued transmission 28 days after the latest symptomatic person is recorded.

The NCDHHS report, updated each Tuesday and Friday, lists the number of cases and deaths throughout congregated living settings. An outbreak is defined by the department as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases.

Semiweekly reports list cases and deaths for nursing homes, residential care facilities, correctional facilities and "other," which is listed as a cumulative recording for homeless shelters and migrant worker housing. Any facility with less than 10 residents is not included in the state report.

Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center is listed with 101 cases and six deaths. Of the 101 cases, 49 are among staff and 52 are among residents. All six deaths correspond with resident cases.

Black Mountain Center, one of three skilled nursing facilities operated by the state, was previously listed with 88 cases and six deaths on Nov. 3. The facility focuses on the long-term care of patients with neurodegenerative disorders, like dementia or Alzheimer's, and serves 45 North Carolina counties.

After first being listed with 52 total cases on Sept. 8, Black Mountain Center has seen a 94% increase in cases. 

Givens Highland Farms is listed with 59 total cases and 13 deaths. Of the 59 cases, 18 are among staff and 41 are among residents. Like Black Mountain Center, all 13 deaths at the retirement community correspond to residents.

Number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina as of Dec. 10, 2020.

Black Mountain's 28711 ZIP code is listed with 357 cases and 23 deaths. While Montreat's 28757 ZIP code is listed with zero cases because of its P.O. box-only designation, Montreat College lists two cases among employees on its website.

Buncombe County is listed with 6,496 cases and 133 deaths. On Dec. 11, a record 7,540 cases were reported in the state with 2,514 hospitalized because of the disease.

The county recognizes its death total as a correlation to cases in long-term care facilities like Black Mountain Center.

Local health departments record virus cases and outbreak investigations before then entering the data into the N.C. Electronic Disease Surveillance System.