Boy Scouts at Camp Daniel Boone near Lake Logan were sent home mid-week after three out-of-state campers tested positive for COVID-19, and outbreaks were found in two long-term care facilities in the county.
At Haywood Nursing & Rehabilitation in Waynesville, two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, and at Haywood Lodge & Retirement Center’s Spicewood Cottages facility in Waynesville eight residents and three staff identified as COVID-positive.
“These events bring to light that COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community,” said Sarah Henderson, Haywood County public health director. “It is not gone, and this is not over. We continue to see an uptick in positive cases as people gather together in large groups and remain unvaccinated.”
Haywood County Health and Human Services personnel are assisting the facilities with contact tracing and coordination efforts throughout the outbreak.
Henderson praised the staff at both facilities for their cooperation.
“We recognize that an outbreak within a facility is no one’s fault and that the caregivers are putting forth a tremendous effort to keep the number of positive cases low,” she said in a news release. “They are following public health guidelines, have increased testing and cleaning procedures and limited visitors.”
In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more positive cases.
Camp Daniel Boone hosts campers from across the nation who travel to the county where the Boy Scouts of America own 700 acres along the Little East Fork of the Pigeon River surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest and the Shining Rock Wilderness area.
Henderson also commended the staff at Camp Daniel Boone for their cooperation.
“They have made every effort to provide us necessary information while continuing to provide quality care to their campers. They are following public health guidelines and recommendations,” she stated.
A news release sent out by the county included the following statements from the entities where COVID-19 was reported.
Daniel Boone Council, Boy Scouts of America:
“The health and safety of our Scouting families, volunteers, employees, and the broader community is our highest priority.
We notified local health officials immediately upon learning that a small number of people tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, July 14. We also informed all individuals who attended camp during that time of their potential exposure.
We have worked closely with our local health officials on implementing expert-informed COVID-19 protocols since the beginning of the pandemic. This includes our COVID-19 mitigation plan, which was approved by the Haywood County Health Department.
Our multilayered mitigation measures at camp — including a pre-event medical screening checklist, daily temperature checks during camp, social distancing, a mask requirement for indoor and group settings, hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout camp, and many more — helped limit exposure.
However, we determined that these few positive cases and the associated close contacts unfortunately inhibited our ability to safely run the remaining sessions at Camp Daniel Boone.
All registrants will receive a full refund, and we look forward to providing them and all other Scouting families with incredible camping opportunities this fall.
We will continue to keep health and safety at the forefront of everything we do.”
Haywood Nursing & Rehab:
“The safety and health of our residents and staff is our highest priority. Throughout this pandemic, we have done our best to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state and local health departments. We appreciate the support of our local health department, such as Haywood County Health Department.
As soon as we were made aware that two of our employees tested positive for COVID-19, we informed them that they could not return to work until they completed the quarantine period. The center has completed one round of testing at this time, and there were no additional cases.
We will continue to stay diligent with our infection control practices and will continue to encourage our residents and staff to get vaccinated. It has been a long and difficult pandemic, but our staff has been strong and committed to keeping our residents and themselves safe.”
Statement from Spicewood Cottages:
“We were notified on Sunday July 11 that a family member visiting Spicewood Cottages Elms the week prior tested positive for COVID-19 that day. Although all our residents and staff working that building had been fully vaccinated, we began testing all involved parties the next morning. Much to our surprise and disappointment several tested positive. Most of which were asymptomatic. We are following testing protocols and samples are being prepared by Quest Diagnostics for CDC evaluation. As always, our facility will continue to act in the best interest of its residents and employees to promote their health, safety and welfare during this turn of events. Thanks to the community for your continued support.”