A delay in reporting resulted in more than 150 cases of COVID-19 being reported on Monday at a care facility in Granite Falls, but the outbreak began in mid-December and more than 90% of the people who tested positive have since recovered, a county official said.
The outbreak at Hickory Falls Health and Rehabilitation involved 102 residents and 49 staff members, but only 13 people are still sick, said Paige Counts, the county’s public information officer.
Eight people have died in the outbreak.
The outbreak was reported almost two months after it started because the Caldwell County Health Department does not test for COVID-19 at the facility.
“Hickory Falls is doing their own testing or has contracted to do the testing,” Counts said, so the facility reported its case numbers directly to the state, bypassing the county health department. To discover the outbreak, the health department had to comb through cases in a state system, “so it takes time,” Counts said.
“Really it was just a breakdown in communication between the facility and the health department,” Counts said. “The cases were being reported, but they were being reported to the state and not to the health department.”
When contacted by the News-Topic, Brandee Jones, the administrator at the facility, said only that she had discussed the situation with Hickory Falls’ corporate office. She declined to comment further.
The outbreak is the second at the facility. The first was reported in July, when 11 people tested positive.
Reporter Kara Fohner can be reached at 828-610-8721.