Buncombe COVID trends remain stable, walk-in appointments available for vaccine

Press release from Buncombe County:

On Tuesday, May 4, Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Saunders provided the latest vaccine information and COVID rates during a COVID-19 community update.

COVID-19 trends in Buncombe County as of May 4:

– There have been 17,531 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County since the pandemic’s start.
– There have been 314 COVID-19 related deaths in our community.
– There are 83 new cases per 100,000 per week, down from 97 per 100,000 two weeks ago.
– The percent positivity is 3.6 percent, down from the 4-4.5 percent range of the last several weeks.
– Regional hospitalizations continue to remain low and stable.

Vaccines Statistics as of May 4
Since December 22, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has administered more than 82,790 total doses of the vaccine with help and support from Buncombe County Emergency Services.

“Each vaccine means we are closer to controlling the virus,” said Saunders. “Each vaccine means we are closer to things we have missed so much. Each one is a step we make toward recovering our economies, restoring our normal lives, and reviving our communities.”

Buncombe County statistics for all vaccine providers per NC Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard: About 47 percent of population (121,346 individuals) vaccinated with at least one dose and 40.5 percent of population is fully vaccinated.

With the consolidation of vaccine administration to one site, BCHHS has added additional outreach opportunities focusing on neighborhoods, community centers, and historically marginalized populations like homebound, unhoused individuals, migrant farmworkers, and African American communities. BCHHS is also supporting worksite outreach. BCHHS also will be working to provide vaccine opportunities in Swannanoa/Black Mountain, Sandy Mush, Weaverville, and Southside.

Site Consolidation
Beginning May 10, all Buncombe County Health & Human Services vaccine administration will take place at A-B Tech Conference Center, 16 Fernihurst Drive, Asheville. Walk-in vaccines are available during clinic hours of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Appointments can also be scheduled by visiting www.buncombeready.org or by calling (828) 419-0095.

Restrictions Eased
“Governor Cooper announced recently that he will be looking to lift restrictions in June,” explained Saunders. “This is based on the desire, thus far, of folks to get their vaccine and the hard work that vaccine providers have been doing across the state to vaccinate North Carolinians.”

During his press conference last week, Cooper further stated that he is considering lifting the mask mandate when our state reaching two thirds of adults receiving at least one dose of vaccine. This is the threshold that the state has set for us to see a continued dampening of transmission and help control the virus. North Carolina as a whole is at about 50 percent. of adults having received at least one vaccine.

Visit the Find my Testing Place website or visit starmed.care to register for COVID-19 testing in Buncombe County. Individuals who are showing symptoms or believe they have had close contact to COVID-19 should get tested.

Emergency Alerts
Buncombe County residents can stay up-to-date on emergency situations by signing up for BC Alerts by texting “BCAlert” to 99411 or by clicking here. Users can select which type of notices they’d like to receive, the languages for the communications, and even TTY options. These alerts include key information about COVID vaccines and waitlists as well.

If residents have previously signed up for BC Alerts, they will need to re-register in order to continue receiving them due to a change in emergency alert providers. Visit www.buncombecounty.org to learn more.

Please continue to practice the 3Ws to stop transmission of COVID-19, even if you’ve received a vaccine. It will take the vaccine and these important preventative measures to get our families back to a sense of normalcy. For more information about COVID-19, vaccine appointments, and COVID testing, go to www.buncombeready.org.

The next COVID update will take place during the May 18 Board of County Commissioners briefing.

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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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