Press release from Buncombe County:
Transmission rates remain high, and while new cases have slowed, Buncombe County COVID-19 rates mirror those in mid-January. The weekly metrics indicate that current percent positivity is 9.6%, the same as a week ago. The incidence rate is currently 366 cases per 100,000 per week, similar to the previous week’s rate, but still more than twice the incidence rate seen at the beginning of August. Individuals ages 25-49 years make up the highest rates of new cases.
There have been 23,001 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, and 351 Buncombe County residents have died related to COVID-19. The rate of death has increased to 3.1 per 100,000 per week, up from 1.1 per 100,000 per week on Aug. 31. Unvaccinated individuals have a risk of COVID-19 related death that is 15 times that of those who are vaccinated.
Currently, 63% of Buncombe County is partially vaccinated, and 60% is fully vaccinated. Buncombe County Health and Human Services has administered more than 98,900 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December 2020. At-home and homebound vaccination services are available through Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS). Interested individuals can call (828) 419-0095 to get more information or to schedule a visit.
“In the recent weeks, we have seen a slight uptick in vaccination administration across the county and also in our clinics,” said Public Health Director Stacie Saunders.“Vaccination is one of our greatest tools, and at this time of very high transmission, it will take vaccination and other layered approaches to succeed in controlling and managing COVID-19.”
In addition to current vaccine administration, BCHHS is actively planning for anticipated boosters. While no official guidance or directive has been given, community members can sign up to receive vaccine booster updates to their phones by texting “BCALERT” to 99411 or by going to www.buncombecounty.org/codered. The CDC recently recommended a third additional dose for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Individuals must self-attest that they qualify for the additional dose, which can be accessed at the BCHHS vaccine clinic.
Individuals can visit the Buncombe County Health Department at 40 Coxe Ave., Asheville, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to receive a vaccination at no cost. Individuals can also visit www.YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov to find vaccination opportunities throughout North Carolina. A limited number of N.C. Department of Health and Human Services incentive cards are available through Sept. 13 to people 18 and over who are receiving their first dose ($100) or who transport individuals receiving their first dose ($25).
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and isolate from others while waiting for your test results. Testing locations can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/GetTested.
Please continue to take COVID-19 seriously by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and getting tested if you have been exposed or have symptoms. Visit www.buncombeready.org for more information on COVID-19 in Buncombe County.