Commissioners hear good news on COVID-19 management

  • County commissioners listen to County Manager Kevin King give his report
    County commissioners listen to County Manager Kevin King give his report

Swain County Board of Commissioners heard positive updates from Swain County Schools and Health Department on the status of COVID-19 and management in the county during the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10.

Superintendent Mark Sale reported to the board that there had been two positive cases from students both outside of school, one at the high school and one at the middle school. However, instruction wasn’t disrupted at either school.

“We have been diligent at following the guidelines from the NC Department of Health and Human Services,” he said, highlighting the success of maintaining six-foot distance.

The district also keeps track of all presumptive cases, including parents who keep students home who have symptoms that could be COVID-19.

“We’ve had 53 cases students come to school with some kind of symptom or showing signs at home, and we track every one of those,” Sale said. “In all of those, we’ve only had two who have had positive results.”

Both Sale and Brandon Sutton, student services director, credits the community for helping keep the spread down and allowing students to continue on-site instruction.

“I think that community effort is why we’re still open 3-4 weeks into school,” Sutton said.

Remote learning also is going well, they reported. There are 649 students, accounting for 35% of students, who are participating in the remote learning program this year.

“We’re no longer having to worry about the technical aspects,” Sale said about the remote learning program.

The board also heard from Health Director Alison Cochran. She reported the current numbers for COVID-19 in the county. As of Sept. 10, there have been 135 Swain County residents who tested positive for the virus, an estimated 1% of the population.

Cochran added that rapid tests are now available in Swain County.

In response to a question as to cases in nursing homes, she said there were three positive results, among two employees and one resident within the past month.

“They were all three asymptomatic. They were doing active testing and caught those three,” she reported. “It’s considered an outbreak because there are two or more within 28 days.”

Commission Chairman Ben Bushyhead said the low numbers speak well of the county. Cochran commended Mountain View Manor and said they are in contact on a daily basis.

In actions taken by the board Thursday, the commissioner unanimously approved a Brendle Street maintenance agreement.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Swain County Administration Building, 50 Main Street, third floor auditorium.