Mother and daughter leave Atrium Health Pineville with COVID-19; notified of outbreak nearly two weeks later

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – State health officials are investigating a COVID outbreak at the Atrium Hospital in Pineville. On Monday, state officials wrote that 51 employees had tested positive for the virus, as well as nine patients.

For the Tucker family, there were a few nerves and a whole lot of happiness after baby Ellie was born on July 27.

“There’s still not much sleep,” laughed Grandma, Sabrina Tucker.

Sabrina said she was at the Atrium Hospital in Pineville from July 26-29. Her daughter, Makayla, gave birth there. She said when they finally brought Ellie home, Sabrina realized just how tired and sore she was.

“We were exhausted, you haven’t slept in days, your immune system is down anyway, it never occurred to me it would be more than that,” said Sabrina.

Fast forward to August 4, Sabrina tested positive for COVID.

“I had two positive COVID tests by the time they called,” she said.

She said Atrium called her on August 8 to let her know that she may have been exposed to COVID while Makayla was in the hospital. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the outbreak. So far, 51 employees have gotten COVID as well as nine patients.

On August 2, FOX 46 sent an e-mail to Atrium asking about a potential COVID outbreak at their Pineville location. It wasn’t until August 12, ten days later, that they confirmed it.

FOX 46 emailed the state health department, who confirmed that Atrium told them about the outbreak on August 4.

On Monday, Mecklenburg County Health officials said they were told about the outbreak on August 7, but they decided that they didn’t need to tell the public because Atrium had a handle on it.

“It became clear the story to tell was Atrium’s story,” said Gibbie Harris, the director of the Mecklenburg County Health Department. “It was their outbreak, they were managing it, working with the state, for that reason we did not make any type of announcements at that point.”

However, Sabrina said, when it comes to COVID, time matters.

“If you let the state know by the 4th, we should have known before the 8th. We didn’t get the first phone call from them until the 8th. That’s just too long, it’s not okay,” said Sabrina.

FOX 46 reached out to Atrium for comment. Officials wrote that they don’t comment on any specific cases, due to health laws. They did not provide any update on their investigation.

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