16 Wake County healthcare workers symptomatic after contractor tests positive for COVID-19

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Officials announced Sunday that a “public health and clinical services” contractor working for Wake County had tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said they had tracked the contractor’s movements and determined that 16 healthcare workers were exposed to the virus and now have symptoms. Other workers — a number was not provided — will be required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

As of late Monday morning, the number of coronavirus cases in Wake County is at 166, which includes six new cases from Saturday and 20 from Sunday.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

The infected contractor worked in the Sunnybrook building and reported to work while symptomatic, a news release from Wake County officials said. The Sunnybrook building houses the county’s main public health centers for adults and children.

The 16 workers were all tested for COVID-19 because they all work in the healthcare field, the news release said. The results for 13 of them came back negative on Monday. One person is getting a re-test and two others are still waiting on results, officials said.

Other employees who came in close contact with the affected person – but have not developed symptoms – are required to self-monitor at home for up to 14 days, according to officials.

 “Unfortunately, this situation is a good example of why people who have fever, cough and respiratory issues should not come to work, and instead, stay home and help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Wake County Human Services Director Regina Petteway said in the news release.

Officials added that the county has contracted with a disinfecting service to clean the affected areas of the Sunnybrook building Sunday. The building was closed until noon Monday.

Officials did say on Monday that the contractor came in contact with the public and they are working to identify and notify those members of the public.

Here is the full news release from Wake County officials on Sunday:

Wake County Contractor Tests Positive for COVID-19 

In a continued effort to be open and transparent about the impacts of COVID-19, Wake County is alerting employees that one of its contractors has tested positive for the virus. The person was supporting public health and clinical services in the Sunnybrook building and reported to work while symptomatic.

“Because there is community spread of the virus, it was just a matter of time before our staff was directly impacted,” said Wake County Human Services Director Regina Petteway. “Unfortunately, this situation is a good example of why people who have fever, cough and respiratory issues should not come to work, and instead, stay home and help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Our public health team has tracked the person’s movements and determined that 16 people were exposed to the virus and have symptoms. They are all in the process of being tested for COVID-19, because they all work in the healthcare field.

 With the county’s shift to a mitigation strategy, healthcare workers are one of the groups the county is reserving its tests and protective gear for when they become symptomatic, because they are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response.

Our public health team has also contacted and required employees who came in close contact with the affected person – but have not developed symptoms – to self-monitor at home for up to 14 days.

The county has contracted with a disinfecting service to clean the affected areas of the Sunnybrook building today. As part of that process, it will be closed until Monday, March 30, at noon.

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