Press release from Buncombe County:
For the fourth consecutive week, Buncombe County is seeing a decline in local case rates. The case rate fell from 216 week prior to 198 in current week. For the last two weeks, the rate has dropped by about 8-10% each week. The percent positivity has shown a stabilization and is currently hovering between 6.7%-7.1% for the last three weeks. Hospitalizations have decreased in the last two weeks now with approximately 9% of inpatient beds occupied with COVID-19. Additionally, ICU utilization has decreased since week prior. Lastly, weekly death rate decreased from 2.3 deaths per 100,000 to 1.9, and represents five deaths reported in the last week.
“Overall, our local trends continue to improve,” says Public Health Director Stacie Saunders. “This is a welcomed sight after this most recent surge, fueled by the Delta variant, which showed very rapid spread and transmission, especially among our unvaccinated population. While this is a hopeful trend, it is important to remember that while decreasing, this case rate and transmission rate is still very high. This is a steady decline but not a precipitous decline, meaning that COVID-19 is still widely circulating in our community.”
To date, 62% of the total population in Buncombe County has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 60% of the total population is fully vaccinated. Seventy-one percent (71%) of those 12 and older in Buncombe County are partially vaccinated. Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has administered more than 102,000 doses of vaccine since December 2020. BCHHS administered more than 600 total doses in the last week through vaccine efforts that included three school partnership events (Erwin, Enka, and North Buncombe), one fire department event (Barnardsville), and a multi-day event in partnership with the Mexican Consulate.
“Each vaccination is protecting another member of our Buncombe County community, which in turn helps to protect us all, especially those not yet eligible for vaccine,” reiterates Saunders. “We are actively planning for vaccination events for the anticipated eligibility of some of our youngest family and friends, 5-11 year olds. Until then, I hope that other members of our community will do their part to help protect our children from COVID-19.”
With fall events and celebrations approaching, BCHHS recommends the following attending outdoor or virtual events where the risk for spread of COVID-19 is lower. If you are planning to attend in-person, indoor events with groups of people:
– Get your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already and encourage others attending your gathering to do so
– Have guests wear a face covering and maintain physical distance from others when they are indoors
– Move events and activities outdoors to reduce the risk of spread
Stay up-to-date about vaccine opportunities using the Buncombe County emergency alert program. To enroll, text “BCAlert” to 99411 or go to www.buncombecounty.org/codered.
Currently, locally funding $100 incentive cards are available while supplies last for eligible individuals (18 years and up) receiving their first dose of vaccine at the Buncombe County Vaccination Clinic or at any BCHHS pop-up 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. Individuals can also visit www.yourspotyourshot.nc.gov to find a vaccination site near you.
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 Find My Testing Site NC. StarMed offers testing at Harrah’s Event Center Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on Sundays at A-B Tech from noon until 4 p.m.