Press release from Buncombe County:
Since identifying the first case of COVID-19 in Buncombe County, 440 Buncombe County residents have died from COVID-19 related causes, and there have been 30,384 confirmed cases. The case rate has increased 54% over the last week, with 208 cases per 100,000 people. Just last week, 590 new cases were identified and there were three deaths. The positivity rate is 6.6%. Hospitalizations have risen from 2.8% of inpatient beds occupied with COVID-19 patients before Thanksgiving to almost 5% of inpatient beds as of Monday. The CDC still considers Buncombe County an area of high transmission.
“Please do your part to help make the upcoming holidays as healthy and safe as possible,” said Public Health Director Stacie Saunders. “If you are not already vaccinated, then make this the gift you give to yourself and those that love you. While we make it through the holidays and the potential for higher case rates, remember our face covering requirement and wear a mask when in indoor public spaces. Always remember to keep distance between and others not in your household when shopping or visiting indoor spaces. And for lots of good reasons this season, wash those hands!”
While the Omicron variant has not been identified in North Carolina at this time, it is expected that it is already circulating. Vaccines, masking, ventilation, social distancing, and handwashing can help curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants as well as the flu, which is starting to show signs of activity in the state at higher levels than last year.
Buncombe County Health and Human Services has administered 106,364 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines since December, 2020. Buncombe County and partners at Caramedics have provided 101 doses to homebound individuals since October. Anyone who needs homebound vaccine administration can call 828-419-0095 to schedule a visit.
Free COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone 5 and older at Buncombe County Health and Human Services between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville. No ID is required. Anyone 18 and older should get a booster six months after a two-dose series or two months after a single-dose vaccine. Learn more at www.buncombeready.org. Flu vaccines are also available to anyone six months and older.
The County is partnering with MAHEC and FEMA to provide vaccines and boosters in the community. This week vaccines will be available from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 11 at Charles D. Owen High and A.C. Reynolds High.
Last week, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners extended the county-wide face covering requirement for all indoor public spaces through Jan. 5, 2022. The indoor mask requirement also extends to Asheville, Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, and Woodfin.