Pre-K, Sheriff’s Office close doors due to COVID


Despite relatively few active cases countywide, COVID-19 concern closed two county facilities within this past week. Both Bright Adventures Pre-K and Swain County Sheriff’s Office are closed at this time due to the virus.

As of Monday, Swain County Health Department reported that there are 25 active cases within the county. Since testing began in the spring, there have been 6,562 total COVID-19 tests in the county with 359 positive results. A total of five Swain County residents have died from the virus. There are currently 35 pending results.

On Friday, Swain County Schools announced Bright Adventures Pre-K would move to remote instruction immediately until the Monday after Thanksgiving. The decision came after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional four were exposed to the virus.

In a press release, the district noted: “not all the close contacts came from school and that no students have been identified as close contacts by the Swain County Health Department.”

While this wasn’t the first notice that someone who either attended or worked at the schools tested positive, this was the first time that the district had to close in-person schooling due to the virus this semester.

Then on Monday, Swain County Sheriff’s Office announced that its office was closing until further notice due to a cluster outbreak of COVID-19 among several deputies.

In the announcement, the office said it will be working with a limited number of officers on each shift until those who have either tested positive or been exposed to the virus can get medial clearance to return to work.

“Deputies that are not exposed will still be working to answer and assist with any emergency that you may have,” announced Sheriff Curtis Cochran.

In addition, he noted the office itself and the detention center underwent a thorough sanitization and cleaning process to protect any further spread to the staff, inmates or the public.

“We are taking every precaution to try to keep everyone safe,” the sheriff said. “The entire detention staff will be tested on Wednesday to see if any are infected. All inmates brought in will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days before being placed into population with other inmates.”

Last Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced indoor gatherings would be reduced back down to 10 people from 25 in an effort to curb the growing spread of the virus across the state. The executive order extends the measure through Dec. 4. The order also extends the current Phase 3. People are still required to wear face coverings over their face and mouth when in shared spaces like offices, shops and restaurants. Other limits on capacity for businesses are also still in place.

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing faster in rural counties, according to a study released by the NCDHHS on Nov. 10. Since September, rural parts of the state have seen nearly twice as many cases of the virus than urban or suburban counties.

Statewide through noon Tuesday, there has been a total of 317,495 positive cases of COVID-19 with a total of 4,852 deaths. The daily positive percentage is at 8.6% with 3,288 newly reported cases.

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