COVID-19 update: Outbreak cited at NC State Veteran's Home

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
The center has reported six cases among staff and two cases among residents.

N.C. State Veteran’s Home Black Mountain is listed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as having a COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Jan. 5 report. The center has reported six cases among staff and two cases among residents.

An outbreak is defined by the state as two or more positive cases reported in a congregate living setting. The outbreak is considered “over” if there is no evidence of continued transmission 28 days after the latest positive test.

World War II and Korean conflict veteran Virginia Dixon was among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the home. The home is among the many in-state long-term care facilities in the process of inoculation.

Black Mountain’s 28711 ZIP code is listed with 547 cases and 24 deaths, an increase of 357 cases and 23 deaths since Dec. 11. Montreat’s 28757 ZIP code is listed with zero cases because of its designation as a P.O. box-only ZIP code, while Montreat College’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated since Nov. 23.

Buncombe County has reported 10,102 cases and 169 deaths with a near 4,000-case increase since Dec. 11. Because its cases are being suppressed, Montreat commissioners say the county case count is most representative of cases in the town.

The county recognizes its death total as a correlation to cases in long-term care facilities like the veterans home.

The semiweekly NCDHHS report, updated each Tuesday and Friday, lists the number of cases and deaths throughout congregated living settings. Reports include all 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.

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

Other outbreaks

Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center is listed with 64 staff cases, 53 resident cases and six resident deaths. The Dec. 11 report listed the long-term care facility with 101 total cases and six deaths.

The facility, one of three skilled nursing facilities operated by the state, focuses on the care of patients with neurodegenerative disorders, like dementia or Alzheimer’s, and serves 45 North Carolina counties.

Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center has reported 52 total cases and five deaths.

Givens Highland Farms is no longer listed as having an outbreak after previously reporting 59 total cases and 13 deaths. Of the 59 cases, 18 were among staff and 41 were among residents. Like Black Mountain Center, all 13 deaths at the retirement community correspond to residents.

Mountain Ridge Health and Rehab, which had an outbreak in a Sept. 8 report before having its outbreak closed by Nov. 3, is listed with five cases among staff and one case among residents. The Black Mountain-based rehabilitation center previously listed two total cases among staff members.