LOUISBURG -- As restrictions were being lifted for COVID-19, Franklin County recorded its highest single day increase in confirmed cases and its second outbreak at an assisted living facility.
On May 8, the number of COVID-19 cases and tracking information across North Carolina gave officials confidence to ease restrictions on public movements and allowed more businesses to open as part of Phase 1.
The day before, though, the Franklin County Health Department was notified that an employee at Louisburg Manor had tested positive for COVID-19.
On May 8, all 130 residents and staff were tested and, by May 12, another resident and staff member had tested positive.
And, on May 11, the health department was notified that seven new coronavirus cases were reported -- these being residents outside of the county's congregate living facilities.
The increase in cases, said Franklin County Health Director Scott LaVigne, is a reminder that COVID-19 continues to be a concern and threat.
"This is a stark reminder that even though North Carolina has entered into Phase 1 of re-opening, we must remain vigilant in our adherence to personal protective behaviors," he said.
"As North Carolina seems poised to enter Phase 2 of our state's phased re-opening on May 22, the Franklin County Health Department urges everyone to remember the virus has not left Franklin County and there is still no vaccine."
The seven reported cases is the largest single-day increase since the onset of the pandemic in the county on March 20.
Prior to that, the single highest number of cases on one day was four.
And, while the county has had larger increases in total cases reported during the pandemic, LaVigne said, those larger numbers were associated with facility outbreaks.
As of May 13, there were 114 reported cases of the coronavirus and 20 COVID-19-related deaths in Franklin County.
According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, Louisburg Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center accounts for 69 of those cases and 19 deaths.
Now, Louisburg Manor -- with its three cases -- makes for the second outbreak at a congregate care facility in Franklin County.
LaVigne said testing of the initial Louisburg Manor employee was likely the result of the staff member exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
The same day that the initial testing took place, health staff said, the health department dispatched a team to the Louisburg Manor in order to work with the facility in executing an outbreak prevention plan, which includes facilitating the testing of all staff and all residents of the facility, a review of practices and inventory of personal protective equipment, LaVigne said.
Again, 130 people were tested on May 8 and up to press time, there was a total of three positive tests and a number of individuals with "inconclusive" test results were retested.
"... [Right now]," LaVigne said on Tuesday, ".... several staff members' and residents' results are still pending."