Buncombe County releases Jan. 26 COVID-19 update

Press release from Buncombe County:

At its Jan. 26 meeting, Public Health Director Stacie Saunders provided the Board of Commissioners with an update on current COVID-19 positivity rates, vaccine supplies and County outreach efforts to communities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

The Buncombe County positivity rate dropped to 7.5 percent, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points. At local hospitals, 11.4 percent of inpatient beds are occupied with COVID-19 patients, and 29 percent of ICU beds are occupied with COVID-19 patients.

As of yesterday, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has administered approximately 7,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, approximately 7,000 are first doses and 500 are second doses. Currently, about 2,000 first doses are available, and will be used for the 1,912 appointments scheduled through Jan. 29. On Jan. 27, BCHHS will receive 975 doses, and in accordance with new state guidelines, all 975 doses will be administered by Feb 1. The new Department of Health and Human Services guidance outlines that shipments received on Tuesday or Wednesday must be used by the following Monday. The state will begin announcing vaccine allotments three weeks in advance.

To help address equity gaps in the state’s vaccine phases, BCHHS is adding additional and targeted outreach to BIPOC communities. Along with language access like American Sign Language and Spanish-language interpretation for COVID updates, the County is working with Mountain Mobility to provide free transportation to vaccine locations. Those in need of a ride can call 828-250-6750.

On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the County will host a “Let’s Talk Vaccines” town hall in partnership with the YWCA. The town hall will be broadcast live in English on the Buncombe County Facebook page and in Spanish on the Buncombe County Health and Human Services Facebook page.

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