Buncombe COVID case rates show slight decrease, while percent positivity, hospitalizations and deaths increase

Press release from Buncombe County:

It is still too early to know if new cases of COVID are decreasing in Buncombe County. Current numbers suggest a decline in cases from 1,152 new cases per 100,000 per week to 907 currently.

“This week’s case data will help us determine if the decrease we are seeing is truly due to decreasing exposure and transmission or if this decrease is a result of limited movement of people, including those seeking testing, during the recent winter storm,” stated Public Health Director Stacie Saunders.

The local percent positivity increased during this time from 22.9% to over 25%. The local death rate increased from 1.9 deaths per 100,000 to 4.2, representing 11 new deaths reported to the dashboard in the last week. Almost 15% of inpatient beds hospital system wide are occupied with COVID-19 patients. The ICU hospitalization went up from 31% to over 33%.

“Though our case rate is showing a decline right now, our other indicators continue to increase,” said Saunders. “Transmission remains high, and that means the risk of exposure and spread remains high. Remember to wear your face covering, keep distance, and wash your hands to help reduce the spread.”

If you are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay home and contact your provider or visit a testing provider to get tested. Many community partners are providing testing, and home kit options are available. These locations and resources are listed at ncdhhs.gov/GetTested. If you know you need an appointment, confirm your testing opportunity by booking an appointment in advance. Please do not visit a hospital emergency department if you only need a COVID-19 test. If you are tested and your test is negative but you have symptoms, continue to stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or other illnesses.

In Buncombe County, 72% of the eligible population is now partially vaccinated and 68% of that eligible population is fully vaccinated. Additionally, 92,290 individuals have received a third/booster dose, which is roughly 54.5% of the fully vaccinated eligible population. Saunders urges continued focus on vaccines saying, “We’ve made great vaccination progress as a community. We have several vaccine providers in our community, including the health department, and two upcoming community vaccine events, so now is a great time to consider starting your series if you haven’t or get the dose you’re missing.” Even with the new variant, boosters are showing to provide a significant level of protection particularly against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

To ensure that our community has opportunity to be up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine, Buncombe County Health and Human Services will partner with Buncombe County Schools to host two school-based vaccination clinics. All vaccines will be available and free. Please check www.buncombeready.org for confirmation of these events as the weather forecast in the coming weeks may necessitate rescheduling clinics.

-North Windy Ridge Intermediate School: January 29, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
-TC Roberson High School: February 5, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Public health officials continue to remind the community that there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19:

-Vaccinate: Vaccinate yourself, if not already, and get boosted when eligible
-Test: Get tested if you have ANY symptoms of COVID-19 or know you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
-Isolate: Stay at home if you have any symptoms regardless of your test results
-Mask: Wear a mask in all public indoor spaces, even if you are vaccinated

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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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