Buncombe County expands COVID-19 community testing as cases rise

Update from Buncombe County Health & Human Services:

As of 1 pm today, there have been 676 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County residents. 134 of these individuals are currently in isolation. Over 52% of Buncombe County residents with lab-confirmed COVID-19 have been between the ages of 18-49. As has been seen on national and state levels over the past few weeks, the percentage of new COVID-19 cases in this age group has increased in Buncombe County. While the illness often is less severe in younger people, some do get very sick and even die. Additionally, younger individuals may be more likely to show no symptoms yet still spread the virus to others.

Contact tracing continues to notify close contacts of their exposure to someone with COVID-19. Individuals identified as close contacts will get a phone call from their local health department or NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223).

Community spread of COVID-19 has increased in Buncombe County over the last few weeks as our community has started reopening and people have been increasing their close contact with others outside of their household. The percent of tests for COVID-19 that are positive in county residents has increased from 2% to 3% over the past week. Interim Public Health Director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, urges the community to continue to stay vigilant and follow the simple but powerful steps to stop the spread of this illness:  Wear your face covering. Keep 6 feet away from others outside your immediate household. Avoid large gatherings. Wash your hands frequently.

Who should get tested for COVID-19?

  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
    • Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, whether or not they have symptoms
  • People in the following groups who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms:
    • Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
    • Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
    • Persons from historically marginalized populations (meaning Black and Indigenous People and People of Color)
    • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
    • Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, construction workers, food processing plant workers, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
    • People who attended mass gatherings (protests, marches, rallies, funerals, parties, cookouts, etc.), particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing

If your healthcare provider does not offer testing, contact one of the local urgent cares or clinics offering testing or visit one of the community testing sites. The state website has a “Find My Testing Place” resource with up-to-date information about testing locations in NC.

At the three community testing sites offered by Buncombe County and Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) over the last week, a total of 747 people were tested. Specimens collected at these events have been sent to LabCorp. Due to the recent increase in testing nationwide and supply chain issues at some labs, LabCorp and other large commercial labs have seen an increase in specimens being sent to them for testing. As a result, the time it is taking to get test results has increased to 5-7 days. People who were seen at the community testing sites are able to get their results online through the LabCorp Patient portal. Per LabCorp’s website, test results will be delivered to the portal as soon as they are available. Individuals will need to register or sign into the portal at https://patient.labcorp.com/. Registration requires entry of the last four digits of the person’s social security number or a valid Driver’s License number for identity verification via text message or email.

The Buncombe County/WNCCHS testing sites are planned to continue for the next nine weeks. People with health insurance should bring their insurance card for billing purposes, but there is no out-of-pocket cost to those tested. Language services are available on-site.

The COVID-19 Community Testing schedule is as follows:

East Buncombe
2217 US 70 Hwy., Swannanoa (Ingles Parking Lot)
Every Tuesday
Testing for the general public will be from 10:30 am until 1:30 pm

Early testing hours for staff of long term and congregate care facilities will be offered at the Swannanoa Ingles from 9:30-10:30 am.

South West Buncombe
58 Apac Dr., Asheville (Buncombe County Sports Park)
Every Thursday
Testing will be from 10:30 am until 1:30 pm

Early testing hours for staff of long term and congregate care facilities will be offered at the Sports Park from 9:30-10:30 am.

Central Buncombe
AB Tech, Genevieve Circle, Asheville (Allied Health Parking Lot)
Every Sunday
Testing will be from 1:30 pm until 5:30 pm

There will be a Community Update on Thursday, July 9th at 2pm. We continue to urge the public to monitor symptoms and to get tested if they have symptoms or fall into one of the risk groups. Visit www.buncombready.org for information on testing and to take the self-checker. The Ready Team stands ready to answer questions about testing sites, the self-checker, and Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 147. The Ready Team can be reached at (828) 419-0095, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


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Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

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