After yesterday’s news release from Samaritan’s Purse confirming the presumptive positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus for one of its employees, a follow-up message from Samaritan’s Purse offered no new information.
“At this time, the press release is the only information that I have to share. Further questions should be directed to the Watauga Health Department,” said Kaitlyn Lahm, the assistant director of marketing and communications at Samaritan’s Purse.
An email was sent to AppHealthCare on Monday afternoon seeking an update on the patient’s status. More details will be added to this story should the High Country Press hear back from the health department.
On Sunday, Samaritan’s Purse sent out the following news release:
“A Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse staff member who had recently traveled overseas has tested presumptive positive for the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus). This individual returned 9 days ago from countries considered to be at lower risk at the time of travel. The employee did not return to work and self-quarantined immediately upon return home. The staff member has experienced some mild symptoms and is recovering without need for further medical intervention at this time. The employee was tested at their home by AppHealthCare (the Watauga County Health Department). We ask that you respect the privacy of this individual and their family.
We are working in full cooperation with the local health department in identifying other staff who may have been in contact with the employee who has tested positive, and though we can’t know for sure whether their contact was prior to or after the virus was contracted, each of these employees has also self-quarantined.
Samaritan’s Purse has significant medical expertise, including in the area of infectious diseases, and we are working extremely closely with AppHealthCare and all relevant local, state, and national health officials and organizations to ensure we are taking the strongest precautions possible.
We are monitoring this situation continuously and will keep our employees informed accordingly. We began to restrict travel at the onset of this virus in accordance with guidelines established by CDC and WHO and continue to tighten policies as new directives are issued. In accordance with NC Governor Roy Cooper’s directive, we are discontinuing gatherings of more than 100 people.
Effective immediately, Samaritan’s Purse is also reducing the number of staff on the Boone headquarters and Wilkes campuses and moving many employees to a work-from-home status for at least the next two weeks.
At Samaritan’s Purse, we are in the business of helping people in crisis. We are continuing the Lord’s work with diligence and want to share with a world that is frightened the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on us to meet their basic needs, and though we are taking necessary precautions, we remain focused on our work to serve hurting people in Jesus’ Name.
We continue to pray for our nation, for those infected with this serious virus, for healthcare providers nationwide, and for our nation’s leaders as they address this pandemic.”