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New rules tighten requirements at assisted living facilities hit hard by coronavirus

Clusters of COVID-19 cases continue to rise at nursing homes across the state.

Posted Updated

Kirsten Gutierrez
, WRAL reporter
LOUISBURG, N.C. — Clusters of COVID-19 cases continue to rise at nursing homes across the state.

On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper put into place new guidelines in an executive order that makes changes to the way people operate at assisted care facilities. Among the guidelines are:

  • Canceling communal activities, including group meals
  • Taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility
  • Requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility
  • Requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 health indicators like body temperature

This comes after North Carolina health officials on Wednesday ordered new resident and employee protections in the state's nursing homes and similar settings after the new coronavirus further penetrated those facilities, leading to more deaths.

There are now a major number of cases of coronavirus in at least four assisted living facilities in the Triangle area.

Assisted living facilities with coronavirus

As of Thursday evening, PruittHealth in Orange County has 84 positive cases. Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehab Center in Moore County has 53 cases. Louisburg Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Franklin County has 33 cases. The Laurels in Chatham County has six positive cases.

Wake County now has four cases at Wellington Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Knightdale.

With cases popping up left and right, it’s scary reality to many like Amanda Robertson, whose mother lives at the Laurels of Chatham County with Alzheimer’s.

“I’m really worried about her," Robertson said. "I’m worried about her getting this. I’m worried about her living through that or struggling on a ventilator at her age.”

Robertson said she wants the whole facility to be tested. A Chatham County Health Department official said only 21 people at The Laurels have been tested due to a lack of resources as of Thursday. They were working to test everyone.