Nursing home staffer told he could keep working after positive COVID-19 test

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte nursing home worker was told he could keep working after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Hunter Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Tom Hunter Road was hit hard by the virus -- going from 6 cases to 40 cases in a week.

At least a dozen cases included staffers, leaving the facility scrambling to cover shifts.

A friend of one of the staffers told Channel 9 that his friend was told that he could come into work even after testing positive for COVID-19.

“His retirement home told him he can come back to work because he’s working the COVID wing and it didn’t matter that he has COVID, that he could still help out there,” the friend said.

Channel 9 investigated and learned that to deal with staffing shortages the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines allows for some workers who’ve tested positive to continue to work at nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association couldn’t tell us how many other nursing homes have brought COVID-19 positive workers back to cope with staffing shortages, but in a statement a spokesman said, “The CDC has determined that it does not pose a risk to the staff member or the residents they are serving.”

Another employee at the facility told us off camera she’s worried that a COVID-positive staffer could infect other workers.

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department told us there is not a critical staffing shortage at the facility so no workers who are COVID-positive should be on the job.

Dozens of care facilities in our area have been hit with outbreaks. Health officials reported Wednesday that Abernethy Laurels in Newton has three residents and two staff members who have tested positive.

>>A list of additional guidance for long-term care facilities can be found here.

Some have overcome outbreaks. The Citadel in Rowan County had one of the largest outbreaks in the state and now officials say the location has gone 28 days without a new case -- and that the outbreak is over.

Channel 9 called Hunter Woods and its corporate office in Florida, but have not heard back.