A COVID-19 cluster identified at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

TThe Jackson County Department of Public Health (JCDPH) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Public Health and Human Services (EBCI PHHS) have identified a COVID-19 cluster at a local business.

Five employees in the table games section of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort have tested positive for COVID-19. All positive employees follow isolation orders. The investigation is ongoing.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) defines clusters of COVID-19 in the workplace, education, and other community settings as: 1) a minimum of five cases with onset of illness or initial positive results over a 14-day period and, 2) plausible association between cases where cases were present in the same setting during the same period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the time corresponds to the probable time of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for the identified cases (eg household or close contact with a confirmed case in another setting).

Symptomatic persons who test positive should remain isolated under the following conditions: 1) at least 10 days have passed since the onset of the first symptoms and, 2) at least 24 hours have passed since the last fever without the use of antipyretic drugs, and 3) symptoms (such as cough and shortness of breath) improved. Asymptomatic people who test positive should remain isolated under the following conditions: 1) At least 10 days have passed since their positive test, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

JCDPH, EBCI PHHS and other local health departments are working to identify any additional close contact from these employees. The CDC defines close contact as being about 6 feet from a person infected with COVID-19 for an extended period of 10 to 15 minutes during their period of infectivity. Based on the information provided by employees, county health authorities will assess the risks of exposure, determine if further measures are needed, quarantine and / or testing.

“Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos remains committed to the well-being of its employees and customers,” said Brooks Robinson, regional general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. “The improved health and safety protocols in place since the reopening include training our entire team of more than 3,000 employees on cleaning and disinfection techniques, the proper use of PPE and the mandatory wearing of face masks by employees and customers. Based on information provided by employees and CCTV recordings, no other employee or customer has been identified as a close contact as defined by the CDC. In addition, all employees who tested positive, showed symptoms or had close contact with a person who tested positive were ordered not to come to work and to isolate themselves. “

Senior Chef Richard G. Sneed declined to comment at this time.

– Jackson County Public Health Department statement, One Feather staff contributed to this report

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