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Harrison COVID-19 cases increase following outbreak at senior facility

CADIZ — COVID-19 cases climbed in Harrison County over the weekend after an outbreak of the virus was reported at the Meadows of Cadiz senior care facility.

The Harrison County Health Department made the announcement Monday evening.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the county’s health department, said the department has been responding to an outbreak of 10 new confirmed cases at the skilled nursing facility.

The county now has a total of 41 confirmed cases since March, 28 recoveries and one death, as of Tuesday. There are currently 12 active cases in the county, 10 of which are from the senior care facility.

Rhome said there may be additional positive cases from the facility in the coming days as pending test results come in.

“I think it’s a possibility. We know that there are additional tests so those could come back positive or negative. We had nine (COVID-19 positive results Monday) and that was out of 23 specimens that had been collected from this particular unit of the facility, and then we had another one today,” he said.

Everyone at the facility, including staff and residents, have been tested for the virus, Rhome said. Although some of the test results are still pending.

“The facility is a part of congregate care testing. The staff is tested every two weeks for staff surveillance no matter what, the entire staff is,” he said.

Thus far, all of the positive cases stem from one unit of the facility. All of the 10 confirmed cases are facility residents, Rhome said.

“So far all of the cases out of this facility are from one particular until that is isolated and segregated from the rest of the facility, so we hope that that continues if we get more positives,” he said.

Rhome said unfortunately, there is no link to how the outbreak originated.

“We just had one particular person who was symptomatic that’s why the facility quickly reacted and was able to get them a test, but just because this individual was the first one to show symptoms and receive a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean that the outbreak started with that person at the facility. That’s just the first one we identified,” he said. “So no, we don’t know how or who, unfortunately.”

Following the facility’s first positive test, officials quickly began testing others in the unit.

“We know of some pending tests. Everyone on that unit is being tested,” Rhome said.

The health department has contacted the close contacts to the known positive cases and the individuals are currently self-monitoring.

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